Thursday, July 23, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
The gunship's sole user is the United States Air Force, which uses AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky variants. The AC-130 is powered by four turboprops and has an armament ranging from 20 mm Gatling guns to 105 mm howitzers. It has a standard crew of twelve or thirteen airmen, including five officers (two pilots, a navigator, an electronic warfare officer and a fire control officer) and enlisted personnel (flight engineer, electronics operators and aerial gunners).
The US Air Force uses the AC-130 gunships for close air support, air interdiction, and force protection. Close air support roles include supporting ground troops, escorting convoys, and flying urban operations. Air interdiction missions are conducted against planned targets and targets of opportunity. Force protection missions include defending air bases and other facilities. Stationed at Hurlburt Field in Northwest Florida, the gunship squadrons are part of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), a component of United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The AN/APG-63 and AN/APG-70 are a family of all-weather multimode radar systems designed by Hughes Aircraft (now Raytheon) for the F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter. These X-band pulse-doppler radar systems are designed for both air-air and air-ground missions; they are able to look up at high-flying targets and down at low-flying targets without being confused by ground clutter.
The systems can detect and track aircraft and small high-speed targets at distances beyond visual range down to close range, and at altitudes down to treetop level. The radar feeds target information into the aircraft's central computer for effective weapons delivery. For close-in dogfights, the radar automatically acquires enemy aircraft and projects this information onto the cockpit head-up display.
The APG-63 was developed in the early 1970s and has been operational since 1973, and was installed on all F-15 A/Bs. In 1979, it received a major upgrade and became the first airborne radar to incorporate a software programmable signal processor (PSP), and the PSP allowed the system to be modified to accommodate new modes and weapons through software reprogramming rather than by hardware retrofit. The APG-63 with PSP is one of the most important feature that disguishes earlier F-15 A/Bs from the F-15 C/Ds it arms, and with the exception of the final 43 (which is armed with APG-70), all F-15 C/Ds are armed with APG-63 with PSP.
The APG-70 was a 1980s redesign of the APG-63 for greater reliability and easier maintenance. Additionally, gate array technology enabled the APG-70 to incorporate new modes with enhanced operational capabilities. To reduce production costs, many of the upgraded radar's modules are common with the APG-73 (F/A-18) radar, while the computers / processors are 85% in common with that of APG-71 (F-14) radar.