Sharpening Stinger II

The bulk of the AC-130W Stinger II gunship fleet will be up-gunned with the addition of a 105-mm artillery gun like the rest of the gunship fleets, Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold revealed on Tuesday at ASC15. “If I have a gunship overhead and I jam the one gun, how many guns do I have? Zero, and that happens, so I’m a believer” in two guns for both the new AC-130J and legacy AC-130W, Heithold explained. The AC-130W fleet is currently armed with the precision strike package including a 30-mm cannon, Griffin missile, and Small Diameter Bomb capability. Nine of the 12 Stinger IIs will be up-gunned with the 105-mm weapon, while one of the remaining airframes is earmarked as a high-energy laser testbed for the next generation AC-130J. “I have to show that I am serious about pursuit of this high energy laser capability … I’m serious, here’s the aircraft we’re going to do it on,” Heithold said.