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Gunship Strike: A History of Military Aircraft with Heavy Guns


What is a Gunship Strike and How Does It Work?




A gunship strike is a military operation that involves using a heavily armed aircraft to attack ground or sea targets with powerful guns and missiles. Gunships are usually fixed-wing aircraft that have their weapons mounted on one side, allowing them to circle the target and fire continuously. Gunships are often used for close air support, air interdiction, and armed reconnaissance missions.


Definition and History of Gunship Strike




Gunship Strike Definition




According to Wikipedia, a gunship is "a military aircraft armed with heavy aircraft guns, primarily intended for attacking ground targets either as airstrike or as close air support. In modern usage the term 'gunship' refers to fixed-wing aircraft having laterally-mounted heavy armaments (i.e. firing to the side) to attack ground or sea targets." The term gunship originated in the mid-19th century as a synonym for gunboat and also referred to the heavily armed ironclad steamships used during the American Civil War. The term helicopter gunship is commonly used to describe armed helicopters.




gunship strike



Gunship Strike History




The first gunships were developed during World War II, when the United States experimented with increasing the armament of bombers to escort other bombers or attack ground targets. The most famous example was the B-25 Mitchell, which was armed with a 75 mm cannon and up to 18 machine guns. The British also used twin-engined fighter bombers like the de Havilland Mosquito, which had four cannons and four machine guns.


After World War II, gunships evolved into more specialized aircraft, such as the AC-47 Spooky, which was a modified C-47 transport plane that carried three side-firing machine guns and could illuminate targets with flares. The AC-47 was used extensively in the Vietnam War, where it destroyed thousands of trucks and provided close air support for ground troops. The AC-47 was later replaced by the AC-119 and the AC-130, which were larger and more heavily armed gunships that could carry cannons, howitzers, rockets, and missiles. The AC-130 is still in service today, with several variants and upgrades over the years.


Types and Advantages of Gunship Strike




Types of Gunship Strike




There are different types of gunships that can perform different roles and missions. Some of the most common types are:


  • The AC-130U Spooky, which is an upgraded version of the AC-130H Spectre. It has a 25 mm cannon, a 40 mm cannon, and a 105 mm howitzer. It can also fire laser-guided bombs and missiles. It is used for close air support, air interdiction, and force protection.



  • The AC-130W Stinger II, which is a modified C-130H with a precision strike package. It has a 30 mm cannon, wing-mounted missiles, and a laser designator. It can also launch small drones for reconnaissance and target acquisition. It is used for close air support, air interdiction, and armed overwatch.



  • The AC-130J Ghostrider, which is based on the MC-130J Commando II special operations tanker. It has a 30 mm cannon, wing-mounted missiles, a laser designator, and an electronic warfare suite. It can also launch small drones for reconnaissance and target acquisition. It is used for close air support, air interdiction, and armed overwatch.



  • The AH-64 Apache, which is a four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter. It has a 30 mm chain gun, wing-mounted rockets and missiles, and a target acquisition and designation system. It can also fire laser-guided munitions and coordinate with other aircraft. It is used for close air support, air interdiction, and anti-tank warfare.



  • The AH-1Z Viper, which is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter. It has a 20 mm cannon, wing-mounted rockets and missiles, and a target sighting system. It can also fire laser-guided munitions and coordinate with other aircraft. It is used for close air support, air interdiction, and anti-tank warfare.



Advantages of Gunship Strike




Gunship strike has several advantages over other types of air strikes, such as:


  • Gunship strike can provide continuous and accurate fire support for ground or sea forces, especially in urban or complex terrain where precision is required.



  • Gunship strike can engage multiple targets simultaneously or sequentially, using different weapons and sensors to match the threat level and minimize collateral damage.



  • Gunship strike can operate at night or in adverse weather conditions, using infrared or radar systems to detect and track targets.



  • Gunship strike can deter or suppress enemy air defenses, using electronic warfare or countermeasures to avoid detection or engagement.



  • Gunship strike can enhance situational awareness and coordination, using communication and data links to share information and receive guidance from other aircraft or ground controllers.



Challenges and Examples of Gunship Strike




Challenges of Gunship Strike




Gunship strike also faces some challenges and limitations, such as:


  • Gunship strike is vulnerable to enemy fire, especially from surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft guns, or small arms. Gunships have to fly low and slow to maintain accuracy and visibility, which exposes them to more threats.



  • Gunship strike is dependent on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets to locate and identify targets. Gunships have to rely on other aircraft or ground forces to provide them with target information and updates.



  • Gunship strike is constrained by rules of engagement (ROE) and laws of armed conflict (LOAC) to ensure proportionality and necessity. Gunships have to follow strict protocols and procedures to avoid civilian casualties or friendly fire incidents.



  • Gunship strike is limited by availability and cost. Gunships are expensive to acquire, maintain, and operate. They also require specialized crews and support personnel. Gunships are not always available or suitable for every mission or scenario.



Examples of Gunship Strike




Gunship strike has been used in various conflicts and operations around the world, with varying degrees of success and controversy. Some of the most notable examples are:


  • The Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, where two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by Somali militia during a raid to capture a warlord. Two AC-130 gunships provided fire support for the rescue operation, but also caused civilian casualties and damage.



  • The Operation Anaconda in 2002, where several AC-130 gunships supported U.S. and allied forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley in Afghanistan against al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The gunships inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy, but also faced intense anti-aircraft fire.



  • The Battle of Fallujah in 2004, where several AH-64 Apache helicopters participated in the assault on the Iraqi city held by insurgents. The helicopters attacked enemy positions and vehicles, but also faced rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.



  • The Operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011, where several AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters launched from U.S. Navy ships attacked Libyan government forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. The helicopters destroyed several tanks, armored vehicles, and radar sites.



  • The Operation Inherent Resolve in 2014-present, where various gunships have been involved in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The gunships have conducted strikes on ISIS targets such as vehicles, buildings, weapons caches, and personnel.



Gunship Strike Games and How to Play Them




<h Gunship Strike Games




If you are interested in experiencing the thrill and challenge of gunship strike, you can try playing some of the popular gunship strike games available on various platforms. Some of the best gunship strike games are:


  • Gunship Strike 3D, which is a mobile game that lets you pilot a gunship helicopter and destroy enemy bases and vehicles. You can choose from different types of helicopters, weapons, and missions. You can also upgrade your helicopter and weapons to improve your performance.



  • Gunship Battle: Helicopter 3D, which is another mobile game that lets you fly a gunship helicopter and engage in various combat scenarios. You can choose from a variety of helicopters, weapons, and missions. You can also customize your helicopter and weapons to suit your style.