Who knew that the AC-103W gunship desperately needed a bigger gun? Not me. The video below tells the tale — in that rah-rah procurement kinda way. Wikipedia tells us that the Lockheed Martin prop plane dates back to the Civil War [/sarc] and evolved into by a number of colorfully named variants . . .
One aircraft received the “Surprise Package” refit in 1969. The Surprise Package upgrade included the latest 20 mm rotary autocannons and 40 mm Bofors cannon but no 7.62 mm close support armament.
The Surprise Package configuration served as a test bed for the avionic systems and armament for the AC-130E.
In 1970, ten more AC-130As were acquired under the “Pave Pronto” project. [ED: cute.] In the summer of 1971, Surprise Package AC-130s were converted to the Pave Pronto configuration and assumed the new nickname of ‘Thor’.
Conversion of C-130Es into AC-130Es for the “PAVE Spectre” project followed. Regardless of their project names the aircraft were more commonly referred to by the squadron’s call sign ‘Spectre’.
Anyway, maybe some of our veteran readers can share some stories of the AC130 in action. I’ve heard that the AC-130’s current cannon pushes the plane sideways. I imagine the new ordnance does the same, only more so.