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12 December 2005 - Mildenhall

New colours for the 100th ARW flagship KC-135R 58-0100 - subtle, but noteworthy that the tradition of the 100th BG is still kept alive. Picture courtesy Jason French

11 December 2005 - Mildenhall

It's been a busy month at the 'Hall so far, the latest interseting movement being RC-135S 'Cobra Ball II' 62-4128, the first time this particular aircraft has been into the UK. Picture courtesy Michael Hall

9 December 2005 - Mildenhall

Disappearing into the morning fog was E-6B 164406 from VQ-4. The E-6 is getting a more regular sight in Suffolk, this one operating from the base for a few days. Picture courtesy Matthew Clements

8 December 2005 - Coningsby

Not particularly unusual in itself, but two C-160 Transalls visited Coningsby today. The main question is - why? Typhoon bits? Imminent deployment of Luftwaffe Taifuns? Picture courtesy Glenn Beasley

7 December 2005 - Lakenheath

A busy day at Lakenheath - three Sea Harriers from 801 NAS dropped in for a three-day exercise with the 493rd FS, probably the last time we'll see them away from Yeovilton, and two Luftwaffe Tornados arrived, as the Germans always seem to do this time of year - Christmas shopping at Harrods, of course...Pictures courtesy Matthew Clements

 

4 December 2005 - Mildenhall

Arriving at RAF Mildenhall was AC-130U 'Spooky' 90-0166. AC-130s are a rare sight in this country - the AC-130U is named after the AC-47D and has the 'Spooky' nickname rather than the 'Spectre' nickname used by all other AC-130 gunships.

The AC-130U is armed with a 25mm Gatling-gun (capable of firing 1800 rounds per minute), a single-barrel, rapid-fire 40mm Bofors cannon, and a 105mm Howitzer. The AC-130U replaced the two 20mm cannon used on the AC-130H with one trainable 25mm cannon while retaining the other weapons. The AC-130U employs the latest technologies and can attack two targets simultaneously.

The U-model gunship is one of the most complex aircraft weapon systems in the world today, containing more than 609,000 lines of software in its mission computers and avionics systems. Although it still uses the venerable Lockheed C-130 airframe, the AC-130U incorporates the latest sensor technology, along with an entirely new fire-control system, to substantially increase the gunship's combat effectiveness. The fire control system offers a dual-target attack capability, whereby two targets up to one kilometer apart can be simultaneously engaged by two different sensors, using two different guns. All light-level television, infrared sensors, and the Hughes APQ-180 radar (also found on the F-15E Strike Eagle) provide night and adverse weather capability. The strike radar provides the first gunship capability for all weather/night target acquisition and strike.

All weapons can be slaved to sensors which permit night or adverse weather operations. The AC-130U is a highly integrated weapons system. Within the AC-130U resides the Battle Management Center (BMC) where crew coordination is critical to the success of their missions. This BMC consists of five crew stations which are the Navigator (Nav), Fire Control Officer (FCO), Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) and two Sensor Operators who control the Infrared Detection Set (IDS) and the All Light Level Television (ALLTV) systems.

To enhance survivability, emphasis has been placed on increasing the stand-off range of the gunship's weapons system and improving first-shot accuracy. In addition, a set of electronic countermeasures has been installed to help defend the AC-130U against modern threats. The AC-130U gunship airframe is integrated with an armor protection system (APS). Picture courtesy Matthew Clements

 

2 December 2005 - Mildenhall

Seen arriving and departing at RAF Mildenhall was a P-3C from Patrol Squadron 10 (VP-10) 'Red Lancers', the second to transit this week. It is the first time P-3s have been to RAF Mildenhall since the Gulf War in 2003. Picture courtesy Matthew Clements

Archive - Nov 05, Oct 05, Sept 05, Aug 05, July 05, June 05, May 05, April 05, Mar 05, Feb 05, Jan 05, 2004

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