Four AC-130U Spooky gunships previously slated for retirement will soldier on to meet added operational demand in Iraq and Syria and cover for delays needed to put a 105-millimeter gun on the new AC-130J. “Because of the demand created by the new threat, I chose not to retire those airplanes—that’s one reason, and the second is that the AC-130J was going to move to the right a little bit on the schedule,” Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold said at ASC15. “The crews that are going to man the AC-130J are coming out of these legacy platforms, so the plan was to retire three AC-130Us in Fiscal Year 15 and two more AC-130Us in Fiscal Year 16,” he said. Now, AFSOC will retire one AC-130U, nicknamed “Franken-bird” for some non-standard modifications, leaving AFSOC with 28 gunships—16 AC-130Us and 12 AC-130W Stinger IIs, until recapitalizing with the new AC-130J Ghostrider. The third AC-130J prototype is currently undergoing conversion to gunship standards and will join the operational test program at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
The U.S. Air Force Academy is doubling its sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) workforce from 12 to 24 employees after a recent Pentagon report showed incidents rising across the service academies.