Members of the 4th Special Operations Squadron last month conducted the final flight of the AC-130H gunship Wicked Wanda at Hurlburt Field Fla., before its retirement, according to a base release. This airframe, tail number 6575, served 43 years, participating in nearly every conflict that United States has been in since the end of the Vietnam War, states the release. “[Wicked Wanda] was my aircraft during the Iran hostage crisis,” said retired CMSgt. Bill Walter, a former aerial gunner. “She had a real good combat history, I’m actually happy to see her retire honorably,” he said. The aircraft’s final flight from Hurlburt took place on Dec. 19. After its official retirement this year, Wicked Wanda will go in display at Hurlburt’s air park, according to the Dec. 29 release.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.