The U.S. Navy just demonstrated it can coordinate with AC-130 gunships for maritime strike against potential hostile surface ships.
In a two-day exercise in the Arabian Gulf, the Navy used cyclone-class patrol coastal ships and a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft integrated alongside AC-130W Stinger II gunships.
While it conducted a similar mission using MH-6M Little Bird helicopters during Operation Earnest Will between 1987 and 1988, the recent demonstration was the service's first using the Stinger II. It was also the first time the assets all coordinated together for operations in the Arabian Gulf.
The surface forces integrating with aircraft that have the firepower of an AC-130W brings a capability to the joint force that profoundly enhances the Navy’s lethality in the maritime environment.
A detachment of troops sent out to reconnoiter.
A military aircraft armed with heavy guns.
Gunship is primarily intended for attacking ground targets.