Complete Guide Special Operations Equipment

Complete Guide. the US Air Force Boeing RC-135V/W. Rivet Joint, the US Navy Lockheed Mar … Complete Guide. armada. INTERNATIONAL. 6/2007. night. Boeing is …

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Complete Guide by Complete Guide Special Operations Equipment issue 6/2007 Supplement to INTERN ATION AL: The air , sea, land defence decision-maker s technology r efer ence monitor . Established 1976 armada INTERNATIONAL 5/2007 Complete Guide 1 armada INTERNATIONAL 6/2007 Special Air Delivery Air support for special operations forces (SOF) has so far relied largely onadapting fixed- and rotary-wing manned/unmanned aircraft that were origi-nally developed for other uses. The growing importance of such operations isnow producing some aviation assets aimed specifically at this application. The Sikorsky MH-53J Pave Low III will be replaced by the Bell Boeing CV-22B Roy Braybrook F ollowing the attacks of 11 September2001, America s Special OperationsCommand (Socom) was assigned the lead in the  Global War on Terrorism .Socom s procurement spend has subse-quently expanded from a modest $ 788million in FY01 to $ 1.53 billion in FY06,and is heading toward a peak of $ 1.83 bil-lion in FY08. Much of this budget is being spent on SOF-specific modifications to off-the-shelf aircraft. However, Socom now hasfunding to plan new assets dedicated to itsspecial needs. Projects under considera-tion include more survivable gunships,light strike aircraft for Coin (Counter-insurgency) operations, tankers to supportcovert low-level helicopter missions, andlightweight air-to-ground guided weaponsto be carried by small drones. Gunships The current US Air Force Special Opera-tions Command (Afsoc) gunship inven-tory consists of eight old Lockheed Mar-tin AC-130H  Spectres and 17 newerAC-130U  Spookies . The AC-130H isarmed with a side-firing 40 mm Boforsgun and 105 mm howitzer, while the AC-130U adds a 25 mm General DynamicsGAU-12/U Gatling. From 2008, the AC- 130U is to be equipped with two 30 mmATK-built Mk 44 Bushmaster II chainguns, replacing the 25 mm and 40 mmweapons. The Mk 44 fires at 200 rd/minand offers a variety of ammunition types,including an airburst round under devel-opment for the US Marine Corps. Beginning in 2009, AC-130Us are to be given new centre-section wing boxes, facil-ities to improve collaboration with dronesand the Lockheed Martin GMS2 multi-spectral target designation system. Twoother near-term upgrades planned for theAC-130 (and the MC-130H tanker/trans-port) have been cancelled to providefunding for more urgent programmes.Those terminated were Socom s HighPower Fiber Optic Towed Decoy and theCommon Avionics Architecture for Pene-tration (Caap) programme, which was tohave included a low probability of detec-tion terrain following/avoidance radar.Caap funds were diverted to improvingthe Northrop Grumman APN-241 weath-er/navigation radar, adding terrain-fol-lowing/avoidance. It may be noted that in January 2007 Socom awarded Raytheon a $ 135.4 mil-lion contract to develop the Silent Knightterrain-following/avoidance radar, whichwill initially be applied to the BoeingMH-47G, and only much later to the Siko-rsky MH-60M, Lockheed Martin MC-130H and Bell Boeing CV-22 Block 30(though evidently not the AC-130). PSAS/NGG Afsoc would like to field a new gunshipwith significantly better survivabilityaround 2015. The series of designationsapplied have included Persistent SurfaceAttack System and more recently NextGeneration

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