Cannon AFB, N.M., Air Force Special Operation Command’s second home since last October, could host the new mini AC-27 gunship that the Air Force wants to develop, Gen. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff, said during a Congressional hearing March 12. The Air Force is exploring a “Gunship Light” concept with US Special Operations Command that would be based on a modified version of the C-27 transport aircraft, which is smaller in size than Air Force Special Operations Command’s current AC-130 gunships. The AC-27s would carry a 30 mm gun, Moseley said. Cannon gives AFSOC’s 27th Special Operations Wing access to the vast range space of nearby Melrose range as well as White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss, Tex.., so that it can conduct realistic gunnery and bombing training with AC-130s, Moseley told the Senate Appropriations defense committee in response to a question posed by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). This could also apply to AC-27s. “We now have some opportunities to do some very, very creative training,” including in concert with the Army, he told Domenici. Already the 27th SOW has certified areas of the Melrose Range to receive cannon fire from AC-130 gunships, he said. (For more on AFSOC at Cannon, see Marc V. Schanz’s piece Special Operators Head West.)
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.