Spooky Shooting

We’ve written about gunships a few times, most prominently here.

We’ve also written about the Bofors 40mm gun. The only Bofors 40mm/60 guns currently in US service are aboard AC-130s. They’re old, hard to maintain, and ammo for them is becoming hard to sustain.

So the Air Force looked to replace the 40mm with a 25mm gun similar to the gun used on Marine AV-8B Harriers. While that worked, it was very maintenance intensive. So the Air Force next tried to use the Mk44 30mm Bushmaster cannon that was supposed to be the main armament of the Marines Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. But as it turned out, that gun had poor accuracy when mounted on the AC-130. So the 30mm’s were pulled and replaced with earlier guns, either 40mm or 25mm.

Defense Industry Daily has a bit of a timeline on some of the contracts that have been placed. 

Mostly, this post is an excuse to link some AC-130 video.



2 thoughts on “Spooky Shooting”

  1. Seems like they could have used some version of the 30 MM used in the A10 Warthog, especially if they are retiriing the warthogs.

    1. Apparently the ammunition is the same for both the Mk44 and the GAU-8, as the DID article references a contract to repackage the ammunition. GAU-8 ammo comes in an HEI-T/API-T mix, but the gunship would only want to use the HEI-T ammo. Further, IIRC, the GAU-8 uses a linkless feed system, but the Mk44 uses a linked feed system.

      As for using the gun itself on the AC-130, I suspect that it was simply too big and heavy. There would be no practical manner to mount it on a gimballed, trainable mount, and the recoil would be problematical at even the low rate of fire.

      Further, while numbers of the A-10 fleet are being retired, the Air Force is actually upgrading most of the existing fleet to the A-10C standard capable of using precision guided munitions, and we can expect to see A-10s in service for another 20 years.

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