14537 1/144 C-130H USAF Hercules Gunship
The AC-130H is a fixed-wing side firing aerial gunship that provides close air support, air interdiction and force protection. Close air support missions include troops in contact, convoy escort and urban operations. Air interdiction missions are conducted against preplanned targets or targets of opportunity. Forces protection missions include air base defense and facilities defense. Secondary missions include armed reconnaissance, forward air control, limited command and control, and combat search and rescue.
Beginning in 1973, Project Pave Spectre II upgraded all but one of the AC-130Es with new Allison T56-A-15 turboprops, the latest radio, avionics and ECM gear, 105mm Howitzer cannon and inflight refueling capability. These aircraft were redesignated AC-130H.
In 1986, thirteen new C-130H aircraft were procured and subsequently modified to include improved armament, avionics, battle management sensors and countermeasures. The resulting gunship aircraft was designated AC-130U and entered into service in 1995.
On September 10 1995, the Air Force commemorated the end of an era with the retirement of the first C-130 aircraft to come off the production line, tail number 53-3129. Produced in 1953, it was affectionately dubbed the “First Lady” and was one of five AC-130A gunship aircraft retired during an official ceremony. While the other four aircraft were sent to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, the “First Lady” went on permanent display at the Eglin AFB Armament Museum in Florida. Note: The AC-130A gunship prototype (#54-1626) was retired in 1976 and is currently on display at the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. A total of forty-three C-130 aircraft were converted into gunships.