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NAT’L – MILITARY – The Air Force’s Newest Gunship Is Officially Here to Mess Your Day Up

Brace yourselves: the Air Force’s newest gunship is officially on the prowl downrange. The AC-130J Ghostrider gunship flew its first combat mission in Afghanistan in late June, deploying to relieve the AC-130U Spooky aircraft following the latter’s final combat sorties, an Air Force Special Operations Command spokesman confirmed to The War Zone on Wednesday. According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, which first reported the news of the combat deployment, the mission took place “just days before” the June 28 change of command ceremony for new AFSOC commander Air Force Lt. Gen. James Slife at Hurlburt Field in Florida. According to The War Zone, the 73rd Special Operation Squadron at Hurburt is currently flying the Ghostrider in Afghanistan, likely in a close air support or armed overwatch capacity. Described by AFSOC officials as “the ultimate battle plane” and “a bomb truck with guns on it,” the Ghostrider comes with the standard 105mm cannon and an additional 30mm GAU-23/A cannon, along with wing pylons designed for both GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.  [full article]

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