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Later Gunship — “First Lady” — the first C-130A, one of the first seven AC-130A modifications and more

21 March 2012

Later Gunship — “First Lady” — the first C-130A, one of the first seven AC-130A modifications and more

30º 28′ 02″ N / 86º 33′ 40″ W

The C-130 Spectre is the latest of a series of cargo aircraft converted to war wagons by the U.S. Air Force. Beginning with the relatively simple AC-47 Spooky (also know as Puff, the Magic Dragon) armed with three 7.62mm Miniguns which were aimed essentially with iron sights, through the AC-119 Shadow/Stinger until we reach the venerated AC-130 Spectre. This AC-130A seen below is an early variant with modern Spectres more heavily armed as well as more technologically sophisticated. But there was plenty of sophistication to this now retired gunship with various radars, searchlights, MAD gear and computer assisted aiming.

This historic aircraft, First Lady, can be seen at the Air Force Armament Museum — paste the museum’s name into the search window and select ENTER to find the review of the museum as well as posts on other exhibits to be enjoyed there.

Magnetic anomaly detector used for vehicle engine ignition detection, and ground plane to minimize reception interference extending aft — photo by Joseph May

The gunship’s armament is on the left side, the time firing on the target could be quite lengthy if the aircraft was placed into a pylon turn which would have the gunship effectively orbiting around a point on the ground — photo by Joseph May

Aft view of the modified Hercules gunship called Spectre outfitted in the Pave Pronto Package — photo by Joseph May

The pair of rotary M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon, forward  — photo by Joseph May

The pair of 40mm Bofors cannon, aft, as well the beacon tracking radar for sorting out the friendlies from the targets — photo by Joseph May

The first C-130A off of Lockheed’s production line and the seventh to be converted to an AC-130 — photo by Joseph May

More information on this ship can be found here at the web site of the Spectre Association: Home of the AC-130 Spectre Gunships.

The next post will be on the original cargo aircraft gunship, the AC-47 Spooky.

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