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MC-130W Combat Spear
AC-130W Stinger II
MC-130W Dragon Spear

The MC-130W Combat Spear conducts infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of US and Allied Special Operations Forces. The MC-130W is a technologically advanced refueling system and provides the ability to refuel special operations helicopters and the CV-22 Osprey. The navigation suite is a fully integrated Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System that interfaces with Low Power Color Radar and Infrared Detection System. Other collateral missions include forward arming and refueling, specialized ordnance delivery, airdrops in support of psychological operations and limited command and control capabilities.

The MC-130W Combat Spear aircraft is a highly modified C-130H featuring improved navigation, threat detection and countermeasures, and communication suites. MC-130W aircraft were also modified with a modular Precision Strike Package as part of Project Dragon Spear, which was intended to provide additional special operations forces gunships until the introduction of the AC-130J, which would also utilize the Precision Strike Package. Aircraft converted with the Precision Strike Package were subsequently designated as the AC-130W Stinger II.

The MC-130W's navigation suite is a fully integrated Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System that interfaces with the AN/APN-241 Low Power Color Radar and AN/AAQ-38 Infrared Detection System. The improved threat detection and countermeasures systems include advanced radar and missile warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers and active infrared countermeasures, protecting the aircraft from both radar and infrared-guided threats.

The communication systems upgrades include dual satellite communications suite with data burst capability. The aircraft has both interior and exterior night vision goggle compatible lighting. Aircraft modified with the precision strike package will be equipped with sensors and weaponry.

Structural improvements to the MC-130W over the basic C-130H include the addition of the Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI), and a strengthened tail empennage. The UARRSI allows the aircraft to conduct in-flight refueling as a receiver, and strengthening of the tail was to allow High Speed Low Level Aerial Delivery System airdrop operations. The MC-130W is equipped with Mk 32B-902E refueling pods. These pods are part of the technologically advanced refueling system that provides the ability to refuel special operations helicopters and the CV-22 Osprey.

The first MC-130W Combat Spear was presented to the Air Force Special Operations Commander on 28 June 2006, in a ceremony at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The aircraft was developed by a team of contractor and depot personnel to replace MC-130E/H Combat Talon combat losses experienced over time. The program modified C-130H aircraft from the 1987 to 1990 year group.

On 2 June 2010, the Department of Defense announced that Sierra Nevada Corporation of Sparks, Nevada had been awarded a $20,863,757 contract that would provide for interim contractor support for the modification to MC-130W aircraft to install a precision strike package in support of Project Dragon Spear, an urgent deployment acquisition to support US Special Operations Command combat mission needs. At that time, $10,014,602 had been obligated. 580 ACSG/GFKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, was the contracting activity.

On 21 September 2010, the Department of Defense announced that L-3 Communications TCS, Inc. of Warner Robins, Georgia had been awarded a $61,018,760 immediate award contract to provide modifications to MC-130W aircraft to install a Precision Strike Package. Eight kits and 8 installations were being procured under the acquisition. At that time, $15,837,316 had been obligated for a total of $61,018,760 because $45,181,444 was previously obligated. WR-ALC/GRUKA, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia was the contracting activity.

On 23 September 2010, the Department of Defense announced that L-3 Communications TCS, Inc. of Warner Robins, Georgia had been awarded a $29,384,156 contract that would provide modification to 4 MC-130W aircraft to install a precision strike package. At that time, no funds had been obligated. WR-ALC/GRUKA, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia was the contracting activity.

On 25 February 2011, the Department of Defense announced that Sierra Nevada Corporation of Sparks, Nevada had been awarded a $22,320,932 contract modification that would provide interim contract support under the Dragon Spear program for 12 MC-130Ws modified to include a precision strike package. At that time, $10,400,000 had been obligated. WRALC/GRUKA at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia was the contracting activity.

In late 2011, work began on integrating the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) with the AC-130W aircraft. The SDB, of which the US Air Force had some 12,000 in inventory as of May 2013, provided a low collateral damage weapon with significant standoff range for the AC-130W. An AC-130W reportedly dropped the first SDB in combat on 12 November 2012. It was hoped that the successful integration of the SDB would lead to successful integration of the Laser SDB family with the AC-130W aircraft. Also on 12 November 2012, an AC-130W successfully demonstrated a launch of an AGM-114P-2 HELLFIRE missile. The HELLFIRE missile family had already been successfully integrated into the US Marine Corps' Harvest HAWK armed C-130 configuration.




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