The Korean War exposed the inadequacy of World War II era transport airplanes. The United States Air Force needed a transport aircraft that can respond to modern warfare and it led to the conception of the C-130 Hercules. Manufactured by Lockheed, the C-130 Hercules was originally designed as a tactical transport aircraft. But the multi-faceted aircraft can perform several roles such as airborne assault, search and rescue, refueling, research and weather reconnaissance. It has numerous variants including the C-130 Hercules Gunship.
Officially called the AC-130 Gunship, it is a heavily armed ground attack aircraft. Using the C-130 Hercules body made by Lockheed, Boeing converted it into a fixed wing ground attack and close air support gunship. The gunship mission includes supporting ground troops, escorting convoys, flying urban operations, air interdiction, and force protection of air bases and other facilities. The United States Air Force is the sole user of C-130 Hercules Gunship. It uses two variants – the AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky.
During the Vietnam War, the C-130 Hercules was selected to be converted into a gunship to replace the Douglas AC-47. The Air Force aims to improve the mission endurance and increase capacity of its transport gunship aircraft. The C-130 Hercules Gunship incorporates side-firing weapons with sophisticated sensors, navigation and fire-control systems. The sensors suite is composed of a television sensor, infrared sensor, and a radar. These sensors allow the gunship to identify friendly ground forces in all kinds of weather. The Spooky is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar that allows it to detect and identify long-range targets. The Spooky also has twice the ammunition of Spectre and can conduct missions at night.
The C-130 Hercules Gunship first saw action during the Vietnam War in the year 1967. It conducted combat operations over Laos and South Vietnam. Throughout the war, it was involved in armed reconnaissance missions, escort and support operations. The C-130 Hercules Gunship destroyed over 10,000 trucks in Vietnam and performed numerous crucial close-air support missions.
When the Vietnam War concluded, the C-130 Hercules Gunship have been involved in almost all U.S. conflicts such as the Nicaraguan Revolution, hostage situations in Iran and Egypt, and Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. During the Gulf war, C-130 Hercules Gunship provided close-area support and battlefield interdiction. For Operation Enduring freedom, the Air Force used the C-130 gunships in attacks against Al-Qaeda militants.
The C-130 Hercules Gunship is a reliable aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. It served the country in numerous occasions in its over 50 years of service. Add the C-130 Hercules Gunship to your wooden airplane models collection and get it only from Showcase Models.