The US Air Force is to add a multi-spectral targeting system to its fleet of Lockheed Martin AC-130U gunships.

An initial $80 million contract announced by the company on 28 July calls for the delivery of 12 new sensors, plus spares.

To be performed under the USAF's gunship multi-spectral sensor system (GMS2) deal, the work will adapt the mid-wave imaging infrared and colour TV camera from the targeting sensor system on the US Marine Corps' Bell AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopter, and also provide a laser designator/rangefinder.

 AC-130U GMS2
© Lockheed Martin

Sources suggest that the GMS2 suite (above) could also conceivably fit on the Air Force Special Operations Command's possible future fleet of Alenia Aeronautica/L-3 Communications AC-27J Spartan Warrior gunships.

The command also recently approved funding for an HC/MC-130J development that could lead to a gunship version of the new-generation transport.

The USAF has an operational fleet of 14 AC-130Us and eight AC-130Hs, according to Flight's MiliCAS database.

Source: Flight International