In its latest display of force, the US Navy conducted a live-fire drill off Iran’s coast in which AC-130 gunships practiced blasting away small patrol vessels like those used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
During the drills on March 8 and 9, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon naval patrol aircraft coordinated attacks by AC-130 gunships for the first time against simulated small, hostile ships. The aircraft is typically used to pound land targets and has seen heavy action in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
In a grainy video shared by the Navy, the AC-130W “Stinger” II, based on the C-130 Hercules transport, can be seen blasting away at a “killer tomato” inflatable gunnery target.
“Our surface forces integrating with aircraft that have the firepower of an AC-130W brings a capability to the joint force that profoundly enhances our lethality in the maritime environment. The addition of the Gunship to the joint maritime battle significantly enhances our ability to detect, track, engage and defeat surface threats in order to control water space in the Arabian Gulf,” Capt. Peter Mirisola, commander of Destroyer Squadron 50/Combined Task Force 55 (DESRON 50/CTF 55) which took part in the exercise, said in a news release via the Pentagon’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS).
“The effectiveness of this joint capability to conduct maritime strike, reconnaissance and armed overwatch was clearly displayed during this live-fire…