Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The AC-130 gunship is just a modified C-130 cargo plane, but there is no more devastating array of firepower supporting troops on the ground, anywhere in the world.The 130 started as a spectacular success in 1967 over Vietnam destroying around 10,000 enemy ground vehicles and devastating enemy troops.
It’s packed with punishing ordnance and renowned for its ability to fly in any conditions, at all times of day, for extended periods of time.
With all its weapons pointing out the left side of the aircraft, the AC-130 enters a counter-clockwise pivot turn before concentrating its weapons on a target.
That spiral may be the surest sign a battle is about to turn in the world, and it’s accurate enough to happen within just a couple hundred yards of American troops.
The AC-130 is a converted C-130 Hercules, retaining many of its same characteristics of look, flight, and capabilities.
It's got very big guns like this 20mm Vulcan cannon which is capable of firing over 6,000 rounds per minute.
As it did in Fallujah, the gunship circles around the battlefield in a pylon turn and fires from the left side.
The massive rounds need to be reloaded after each shot. A good crew can sustain three rounds fired per minute but an outstanding crew can do 10.
There's a crew of 13 on board, each with specific duties such as pilot, aerial gunner, or fire control.
And the sophisticated sensors allow them to get positive identification of the enemy before delivering destruction.
And that's a big reason why they hardly ever operate during the day, especially after one was shot down during the Gulf War in 1991.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.