Fourteen C-130s are being transferred from transportation units for conversion to ten MC-130 all-weather transports, and four AC-130U gunships. Both of these aircraft are equipped to operate at night and in any weather, as well as at very low altitudes. AFSOC has 37 MC-130s that are wearing out, so more new, or rebuilt, C-130s will be arriving in the next three years. AFSOC is also experimenting with a two engine gunship (based on the C-27J), the AC-27J.
On a related note, I don’t think I ever noted the fact that the Air Force reversed course on the plan to replace the 40mm Bofors cannon and the 25mm gatling gun with 30mm Bushmaster cannons on the AC-130Us.
AFSOC leadership noted problems with the 30 mm’s accuracy as the reason for AFSOC putting the plan on the shelf. The installment of the (2) Bushmaster 30 mm cannons on each gunship in the AC-130U fleet would have replaced the 25 mm Gatling guns and 40 mm Bofors cannons. The plan was visioned as providing a way for the CAS aircraft to act more as a airborne sniper with what AFSOC officials call a “two shot”, where the gun can be automatically corrected for accuracy after it fires off its first shot on a target. Unfortunately, the test program never produced sufficient results to keep it alive any longer.
That L/60 Bofors gun just keeps on ticking.