A look inside the AC-130 — one of the most powerful military aircraft of all time

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US Air Force/Senior Airman Julianne Showalter

The AC-130 has humble origins. Essentially it is a 1950s cargo plane, the C-130 Hercules, decked out with guns, advanced avionics, guns, and more guns.

Able to fly faster and higher than a helicopter, but with excellent range and loiter time, the AC-130 is one of the most effective platforms for delivering devastation downrange available on air, sea, or land.

The magic of the AC-130 is it’s ability to slowly bank and fly in cricles, while the side mounted guns rain down destruction on a single central point.

Recent footage from Warleaks takes us inside this mighty gunship, as we’ll explore in the slides below.


Here we see the AC-130U ripping it’s 25 mm Gatling gun.


Here’s what that looks like from the crew’s point of view.


Here we see the view from the ground.


The heart and soul of the gunship is the crew. Here we see them working together to operate the 40 mm cannon.


Here’s what loading the 105 mm cannon looks like.


Watch the full video below.