The Lockheed AC-130 ‘Angel of Death’: Special Forces’ Latest Weapon Is The World’s Biggest Flying Artillery Gun
This is not a plane, this is the biggest flying artillery gun in the whole world. It’s a flying gunship. People call it the ‘Angel of Death’. It’s a long-endurance ground-attack aircraft that is heavily armed. This flying weapon is used by US and British Special Forces. This is the only one aircraft that is focused on visual targeting. The Angel of Death features a large amount of anti-ground oriented weapons. Each one of these weapons if connected to a lot of sensors, navigation and fire-control systems.
You might be wondering how this plane received its nickname. The answer is simple when you see it in action. The shape of the anti-missile flares when fired is exactly like a normal troop carrier. The Angel of Death is mainly used in night missions because of its size and the fact that it operates at low-altitude – roughly 7,000 ft. Here are some interesting facts about the creation of this beast. Boeing converted the standard aircraft into a gunship while Lockheed Martin built the frame.
There is something special in this aircraft – it is equipped with various sensors – a radar, infrared and television sensor. The interesting part is that because of these sensors the Angel of Death could easily recognize friendly ground forces in most weather conditions. The identification process could happen visually or electronically. In addition there is a synthetic aperture radar AN/APQ-180 responsible for long range target detection. Unlike other military aircrafts, this one could attack two targets simultaneously.
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Most of the specifications about the Angel of Death are classified. The operational history of this aircraft is really long – Vietnam war, Cold War and later actions, The war on terror. The first Angel of Death gunship appeared in the Vietnam War – 21 September 1967 in South Vietnam. It was involved in a operation under the Gunship II program. Nowadays, the Angel of Death is manufactured in two versions – Lockheed AC-130H that costs $132.4 million and Lockheed AC-130U – $190 million.