Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has completed the installation of a new countermeasures system aboard a Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghostrider gunship of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The company says it has successfully integrated Northrop Grumman’s ALQ-251 system under the auspices of the AC/MC-130J Radio Frequency Countermeasures (RFCM) programme.


Source: Sierra Nevada Corporation

The AC-130J uses side-firing weapons to engage targets

The company says that the new system improves the detection and geolocation of threats, allowing active countermeasures to be taken. The system improves situational awareness and improves survivability.

“SNC is excited to deliver this critical capability to the [special operations] warfighter,” says SNC executive Brendan Walsh.

“With this delivery, USSOCOM can gain confidence operating in the modern, ever-evolving threat environment thanks to the protection RFCM provides.”

The aircraft that received the update will support additional development and testing, adds SNC.

Separately, Northrop says that the ALQ-251 allows improved protection against both electronic warfare systems and radar-guided weapons in contested environments.

The AC-130J replaced the AC-130U “Spooky” in US service.

The gunship is equipped with a precision strike package, which includes a mission management console, a more robust communications suite, two electro-optical/infrared sensors, advanced fire control equipment, a precision-guided munitions delivery capability, as well as a side-firing, trainable 30mm Mk 44 Bushmaster II cannon and 105mm M102 howitzer.

Additional improvements include updated crew seats with added safety features and a relocation of equipment into more optimal locations.

Primary missions include close air support, air interdiction, and armed reconnaissance.

Cirium fleets data suggests there are 18 AC-130Js in the US inventory.