First Ghostrider

Photo by Capt. Belena Marquez

The first MC-130J that will be converted into Air Force Special Operations Command's newest gunship was flown to Eglin AFB, Florida, for modifications on 9 January 2013. Conversion of the airframe is scheduled to be completed in November 2014. The new AC-130J Ghostrider will inherit the precision strike package from the AC-130W Stinger II. The precision strike package, developed to support ground forces in overseas contingency operations, includes dual electro-optical infrared sensors, a 30mm cannon, AGM-176 Griffin missiles, all-weather synthetic aperture radar, and the capability to release Small Diameter Bombs. The sensors allow the gunship crew to visually or electronically identify targets at any time, including adverse weather.