The US military has demonstrated the use of a Lockheed Martin AC-130W Stinger II gunship in a new naval support role.
The work took place from 8-9 March in the Arabian Gulf and involved AC-130Ws, a Boeing P-8A Poseidon, and a US Navy Cyclone class patrol vessel, says the US Navy. The P-8A and patrol vessel identified targets that simulated surface threats, which the AC-130Ws then engaged with live rounds.
A short video posted by the US Navy shows an AC-130W apparently destroying a buoy.
According the US Air Force web site, the AC-13OW is equipped with a single 30mm GAU-23 cannon, precision guided munitions, and the GBU-39 small diameter bomb.
“Our surface forces integrating with aircraft that have the firepower of an AC-130W brings a capability to the joint force that profoundly enhances our lethality in the maritime environment,” says US Navy captain Peter Mirisola.
“The addition of the Gunship to the joint maritime battle significantly enhances our ability to detect, track, engage and defeat surface threats in order to control water space in the Arabian Gulf. The effectiveness of this joint capability to conduct maritime strike, reconnaissance and armed overwatch was clearly displayed during this live-fire event.”
The AC-130Ws involved in the Arabian Sea work are assigned to the Special Operations Command Central.
Swarms of small boats operated by Iran are a concern for the US Navy, particular in the tight confines of the Straits of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf. Periodically, footage has emerged of such vessels shadowing American warships.