The fifth-generation gunship will replace the ageing fleet of AC-130U Spooky and AC-130W Stinger II gunships. It is armed with high-energy lasers for covert strikes.
The new AC-130J Ghostrider Gunship is an improved version of the C-130J aircraft possessing improved avionics, weapons, and navigation systems and is going to be one of the most requested weapons systems from ground forces in the history of warfare. The monstrosity of this beast can be highlighted from the fact that it was described as the “most fearsome weapon” being developed way back in the year 2013, six years before its first actual combat deployment in Afghanistan(July 2019).
Named Ghostrider in May 2012, the AC-130J gunship took over from AC-130U Spooky that had been supporting the United States Coalition Special Operations forces and their Afghan partners in that country. The potency of the former can be corroborated by the fact that the Russians wanted to make their own version of America’s legendary AC-130 “Spooky” gunship.
The Angel of Death – AC-130J
The AC-130J Ghostrider gunship has a primary function of close air support, air interdiction, and associated collateral missions. Officials of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) described the Ghostrider as “the ultimate battle plane” and “a bomb truck with guns on it,”. The gunship has enough firepower to annihilate its enemies. It has the Precision Strike Package with 30mm and 105mm cannons and Standoff Precision Guided Munitions, AGM-176A Griffin laser-guided missiles, wing-mounted GBU-39/B GPS-guided, and GBU-39B/B laser-guided Small Diameter Bombs.
Advanced Tactical Laser
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) extolled the use of laser weapons on the battlefield, but it was actually in the year 2015 that a need for high-energy laser on an AC-130J was first highlighted. The Direct Energy weapons bring two elements with them- Invisible detection and surprise engagement. Unlike kinetic weapons, the high-energy laser weapons are more efficiently able to take down enemy targets furtively, making the 60-kilowatt high energy laser on top of the Ghostrider gunship a “silent killer”.
Being able to cause explosions like those that happened in Iraq and Lebanon at will from several miles away without leaving any forensic footprint, this high laser weapon is far more efficacious than what its power output suggests. The Ghostrider with a laser weapon will be able to take down several defensive weapons and aircraft without being discernible to enemy weapon systems.