Splitting the Gunships:

Oddly enough, Air Force Special Operations Command’s old gunships—the Vietnam-era AC-130Hs—do not have the same structural issues as the newer AC-130Us. The H-model Spectres are “aging gracefully,” Lt. Gen. Mike Wooley told defense reporters Wednesday. However, he added that they still represent the “wildcard” in the overall health of the gunship fleet. The AC-130Hs have been assigned to Afghanistan, where they fly every night—but typically once per night compared to the two or three flights per night of the U-models patrolling above Iraq. This division of labor will continue in future home-station basing, Wooley noted. AFSOC plans to assign the AC-130H fleet to Cannon AFB, N.M., after the command takes over the base this October. The AC-130Us will continue to operate from Hurlburt Field, Fla.