STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Lockheed Martin - USA
LENGTH: 98.43 feet (30 meters)
WIDTH: 131.23 feet (40 meters)
HEIGHT: 38.39 feet (11.7 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 77,162 pounds (35,000 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 154,996 pounds (70,305 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines delivering 4,300 shaft horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 300 miles-per-hour (482 kilometers-per-hour; 260 knots)
RANGE: 2,877 miles (4,630 kilometers; 2,500 nautical miles)
CEILING: 32,808 feet (10,000 meters; 6.21 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,850 feet-per-minute (564 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Lockheed AC-130W Stinger II (MC-130W Dragon Spear) Special Operations Fixed-Wing Gunship Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 8/16/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The on-going American commitment to the war's in Afghanistan and Iraq forced renewed interest during 2007 in supplying effective close-support firepower for special forces elements. By 2009 the United States Air Force (USAF) had already committed to the procurement of the AC-130J gunship but their arrival was still very much in the future. Therefore, as an interim measure, it was decided to convert a existing MC-130W "Combat Spear" aerial tankers and transports (C-130H) to fixed-wing gunships. L-3 Communications was contracted for the work in September of 2010 and this has since resulted in yet-another in the long line of Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" related transport offshoots - the MC-130W "Dragon Spear" (to be later redesignated as AC-130W "Stinger II").
Most of the modification lay in implementation of the "Precision Strike Package". This also included installation of a 30mm "Bushmaster II" series GAU-23A Gatling-style cannon off to portside of the airframe. A precision-guided munitions system - the "Gunslinger" - was also one of the key qualities of the design and added a "smart" munitions capability to the attack platform. This system, by way of rapid-fire launch tube, allowed the crew to fire off successive shots of guided missiles at targets while on the move. Supported ordnance includes the Hellfire Anti-Tank (AT) missile, Viper Strike glide bomb and Griffin lightweight missile series. Additional work added updated communications and sensor fits to complete the new aircraft.
The standard operating crew would encompass two pilots, two Combat Systems Officers (CSMs), a flight engineer and a pair of Special Mission Aviators (SMAs).
Power is from 4 x Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines of 4,300 horsepower each and fitted to a shoulder-mounted monoplane wing for excellent Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is 155,000 lb. Range is out to 2,500 nautical miles with a maximum speed of 300 miles per hour reported.
In this guise the MC-130W became the "Dragon Spear" - the concept-to-flight time lasting just 90 days (prototype-to-deployment was 18 months). Eight conversions were originally received and the stock for Special Operations COMmand eventually grew to twelve by September 2013. Initial deliveries to the Afghanistan Theater were in late-2010 and the aircraft saw combat action soon after against Taliban forces. The series has also been deployed over Iraq and in Operation "Inherent Resolve" - the ongoing fight against I.S.I.S. in both Syria and Iraq.
The redesignation of MC-130W Dragon Spear units to AC-130W Stinger II occurred during May of 2012. The Fairchild AC-119 gunship platform of the Vietnam War years (1955-1975) carried the original "Stinger" name.
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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (300mph).
Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Lockheed AC-130W Stinger II's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units