Friday, March 03, 2006

Why the Media Matters Not

MSN/AP is reporting four AC-130Us are being stationed in Iraq.

The U.S. Air Force has begun moving heavily armed AC-130 airplanes — the lethal “flying gunships” of the Vietnam War — to a base in Iraq as commanders search for new tools to counter the Iraqi resistance, The Associated Press has learned.

So these planes are from VietNam? Really. New tools? AC-130s are designed for two missions, exterminating the convoys on the Ho Chi Hinh Trail and precisely obliterating a target when friendly forces are danger close. During the 1972 Easter Offensive, an AC-130 fired rounds at North VietNamese forces that were within yards of friendly ARVN forces. So an AC-130 orbiting at night surveying the landscape can easily spot terrorists up to no good and blast them without worrying about blowing up the mosque these killers were using to store the weapons. Sounds like a good idea to me.

The Iraq-based special forces command controlling the AC-130s, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, said it would have no comment on the deployment. But the plan’s general outline was confirmed by other Air Force officers, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Of course the military is not going to confirm these things for you like location of the planes. If they do then they confirm such planes really are in theatre which will cause Mohammed the Mortar Guru to salivate as he lays that 81mm mortar on an airfield because nailing an AC-130 on the ground is major brownie points and reduces his chances of being ventilated.

And they should have fact-checked their story.

The left-side ports of the AC-130s, 98-foot-long planes that can slowly circle over a target for long periods, bristle with a potent arsenal — 40 mm cannon that can fire 120 rounds per minute, and big 105 mm cannon, normally a field artillery weapon. The plane’s latest version, the AC-130U, known as “Spooky,” also carries Gatling gun-type 20 mm cannon.

The 40mm Bofors is not on the newest AC-130s, the U model. AndyJ, is it possible to get 120 rounds a minute from a Bofors, feeding in those large four-round clips? M61A1 Vulcan Gatling guns have been on AC-130s since the first AC-130A flew. And since the E model, the 105mm gun has been standard armament, replacing on the E and H models one of the two Bofors. The U model is called the 'U-Boat' while AC-130s in general are called Spectres. Spooky referred to FC-47s/AC-47s that proved the gunship concept in VietNam with three 7.62mm Gatling guns firing out the left side.

Reporters are becoming truly pathetic, too lazy to even do background research because they 'know' what they know.


Anonymous said...

Date of Design: 1941
Date Placed into Service: 1942
Bore: 40mm/56 Calibre
Overall Weight: 1,150 lbs
Overall length: 98.4 inches
Bore Length: 88.6 inches
Number of Grooves: 16
Length of Rifling:; 75.85 inches
Weight of complete round: 4.75 lbs
Wt. of projectile: HE - 1.985 lbs, AP - 1.960 lbs
Projectile Length: 17.62 inches
Max. Range: 10 degrees-6,844 yards, 20 degrees-9,295 yards, 30 degrees-10,691 yards, 40 degrees-11,208 yards.
Muzzle Velocity: 2,890 feet per second
Ceiling: 22,299 feet
Armor Penetration of AP round: 0 yards-2.7", 2,000 yards-1.2", 4,000 yards-0.60", 6000 yards-0.45".
Rate of Fire: 160 rounds/min per barrel
Ammunition Types: Armor Piercing w/tracer, Anti-Aircraft HE
Magazine: Clip fed, 4 rounds although some guns can use a 48-round clip.
Barrel Life: 9,500 rounds

These specs say 160 rounds per minute. I think that you would have to have a very well oiled gun crew, both the loaders and the ammo passers. I had a very well practiced crew on my mount in Vietnam, but I couldn't tell you what rate of fire we achieved. I would say that at times we came very close


Anonymous said...

I've been in an AC-130 and if my feeble mind can remember, the gun is pointed at a depressed angle when firing so that the loader has to lift the 4 round clip chest high or higher to load, our loaders had the loading slots waist high or lower and only had to drop the clip into the slot. Having to lift the clip chest high would eventually result in slower rates of fire from fatigue (in my opinion)


Anna said...

My cup runneth over in information on the Bofors 40mm gun. :) Thanks.

And your memory is good, all the guns are angled to fire down because the AC-130 is supposed to do a pylon turn and fire on the target. So the loaders have to lift the rounds up a bit. Plus factor in cramped and possibly hot confines, rate fire would probably be slower than specs.

Besides if one wants to hose a target down with lots of bullets, the Vulcans are there. From the AP stats the Bofors would be murder on trucks and lightly armored vehicles.

Anonymous said...

The gunship that I remember from Vietnam was the AC-47, an old c-47 with banks of miniguns and a huge spotlight in the nose. I first saw this bird during the '68 TET offensive at Vinh Long. Very impressive. The tracer streams were a solid stream of red, and the rounds were about 5 rounds then a tracer. And the sound was unlike any ordinary machine gun, it sounded like one long fart. Story was that they could put a bullet in every square inch of a football field with one 30 second burst. Like I said, impressive, but covered wagon compared to the AC 130's