Skip to comments.AC-130 "Puff the Magic Dragon"
Posted on 10/16/2001 7:19:27 AM PDT by Dirk McQuickly
Puff the Magic Dragon
Have any FREEpers seen this baby up close?
Some Afghanis have but I doubt they will be talking about it!
You're likely to get some mild flaming on your post, as this is about the tenth post where the SPECTRE (C-130/H) and the SPOOKY C-130/U) are referred to as "Puff the Magic Dragon" which began life as a C-47 / DC-3.
Otherwise, thanks for the cool pic.
The pilot flies the aircraft in a very precise arc while the weapons guys pick AND DESTROY 'surgical' targets, or blanket an area for suppression and destruction. The Spectre and Spooky can be both discriminate and indiscriminate, but always devastating.
The crew of this AC-130A "Spectre" gunship, named Azrael--Angel of Death, (Azrael, in the Koran, was the angel of death who severed the soul from the body) displayed courage and heroism during the closing hours of Desert Storm. On February 26, 1991, the allied ground forces were driving the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. The crew of Azrael, Spectre #54-1630, was sent to the Al Jahra highway between Kuwait City and Basrah, Iraq, to intercept the convoys of tanks, trucks, buses, and cars that were fleeing the battle. Facing numerous enemy batteries of SA-6 and SA-8 missiles, and 37mm and 57mm radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery, the crew attacked the enemy skillfully, inflicting significant damage to the convoys. The crew's heroic efforts left much of the enemy's equipment destroyed or unserviceable, contributing to the defeat of the Iraqi forces. On February 28, 1991, Iraq agreed to a cease-fire.
During the 1950s the versatile C-130 Hercules was originally designed as an assault transport but was adapted for a variety of missions, including weather mapping and reconnaissance, mid-air space capsule recovery, search and rescue, ambulance service, drone launching, and mid-air refueling of helicopters. The C-130 could transport up to 92 combat troops and their gear or 45,000 pounds of cargo. Where facilities were inadequate, the Hercules could deliver cargo by parachute or by using the low altitude parachute extraction system (LAPES) without landing. The AC-130A "Spectre" is a C-130 that was converted to a side-firing gunship, primarily for night attacks against ground targets. In addition to its armament, it also possessed sensors, a target acquisition system, and a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) and lowlight television system.
The aircraft on display was assigned to the 919th Special Operations Wing (SOW) and was retired to the Museum in October 1995.
Span: 132 ft. 7 in.
Length: 96 ft. 10 in.
Weight: 124,200 lbs. max.
Armament: Two 7.62 miniguns plus two 20mm and two 40mm cannon
Engines: Four Allison T-56-A-9D turboprops of 3,750 equivalent shaft horsepower ea.
Serial number: 54-1630
Max. speed: 380 mph/330 knots
Cruising speed: 335 mph/291 knots
Range: 2,500 statute miles/2,172 nautical miles
Service ceiling: 33,000 ft.
Praying this time it will end differently, JL
The gun ship had 2 side firing 20mm Vulcan cannons (gatling guns) a 105mm cannon, and a 40 mm cannon , all individually targeted via a suiteconsisting of four crewmen sitting on the starboard side (right). Most of the monitors were covered with canvas covers and IDed by a crewman as sensors.
Snatch Job was VERY interesting, in the Cargo Area was configured to hold about 30 pax, in the ole sling seats. A VERY young crew chief explained that this a/c was designed to land and take off on about 1300ft. His quote We can land this without any reference to the ground in any weather, day or night, we prefer the night The cockpit had a impressive array of FLIR monitors.
I left feeling very proud of the crews, they were our very best and brightest, and VERY brave. My thoughts these days are with them, may God watch over them and keep them safe for they truly are the tip of the spear in this operation.
God Bless America
Pic of a AC-47 gunship aka "Puff".
My service in the USAF special ops was a bit after the Vietnam war. A few of the old sergeants I worked with related how the mere mention of Puff on the radio sent the VC scurrying out of the area. Sometimes they even simulated a call to Puff to get the same effect when no Puff was available.
The 105MM cannon fires both the M-1, 32.5 pound high explosive (HE) and the M-60, 34.2 pound white phosphorous (WP) projectile. The fuzes available for the HE round are the super quick M-557,selectable to point detonate (PD) or a 0.05 second delay, the hardened FMU-153B, with PD or 0.007 second delay, and the M-732 proximity fuze, which detonates at approximately 7 meters above the ground, or point detonates if the proximity function is not set or fails.
The M-1 HE projectile with the M-557 fuze in the PD mode is effective against personnel and light vehicles. The M-1 HE projectile with M-557 fuze in delay is effective against light structures and personnel under heavy foliage or cover as the round penetrates prior to detonation. This combination does not work as well against concrete or hardened structures as the fuze and projectile may break up on impact, causing the round to not function. With the FMU-153B fuze in delay mode, the M-1 HE projectile has hardened target penetration capability. The M-732 also makes the M1 HE round an effective personnel physical suppression weapon, as the air burst enables the fragmentation to impact prone or entrenched troops.
For effective area coverage it may be necessary to fire several rounds at least 20 degrees apart, aiming approximately 2 mils high of the central point. The M-732 fuze may function based on the height of the highest obstacle in the area. The M-60 WP round, used only with the M-557 fuze, is an effective smoke round with limited incendiary effect.
This REMF has only seen one at an air show. They actually let us walk through it. An amazin' machine!
Here's another pretty piece of eye candy I haven't seen on FR before:
Here's another one, over Vietnam perhaps?
Anyone know? . . . What is the difference between Puff the Magic Dragon and Spooky?
The former's an AC-47, the latter's an AC-130.
A merry tune sung by the gunship crews. It is sung to the tune of "Ghost Riders in the Sky", an old country/western tune.
Fly high you mighty Spectre, you ship of blazing fools
Deal death around the table, and never play by rules
Lift up your wings at suns last ray, and silent like the night
Fly East to where your target lies, and start your deadly fight
Your foes will not suspect you're near, until they feel your sting
Spit forth a flame that points at death, and make your bullets sing
Though flak explode around you, stay on your circled path
Bathe the bad in bloody steel, make them feel your wrath
When all is quiet down below, and flames reach for the sky
Speed home you battle-weary ship, for soon the dark will fly
Speed home you mighty Spectre, touch down at sun's first ray
You've flown to hell for battle, but shun the light of day
Rest, rest you awesome Spectre, lick your battle wounds
And fill your side with deadly store for night is coming soon.
I saw this and my first thought was: "HOW THE F do you get a howitzer in a plane?"
This is Puff:
More information can be found at this website.
Actually, the official Air Force name was "Spooky." I saw many while I was in Nam. It was interesting to see them work out at night. All we could see, was a steady stream of tracers raining down from the sky.