USAF and US Navy use AC-130W gunship to counter new naval threats in Persian Gulf

From March 8 to 9, the American armed forces demonstrated in the Persian Gulf the possibility of using a "gunship" aircraft for maritime support operations. The test involved US Air Force AC-130W Stinger-II gunships as well as a Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and a US Navy Cyclone-class light patrol vessel.

Seemingly anecdotal, this test nevertheless makes it possible to validate the joint use of air and naval means making it possible to counter swarms of light and manoeuvrable surface targets. By carrying out the demonstration a short distance from the Strait of Hormuz, the American forces are also sending a clear message to Iran. Finally, it is also a question of showing the flexibility of use of the USAF AC-130W at a time when the USAF squadrons dedicated to special operations perceive around forty new AC-130J Ghostrider.

If the AC-130s do not have the survivability of a real fighter-bomber, they still have largely reinforced self-protections to allow them to operate in contested environments.

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