One thing not mentioned yet is the orientation of all that firepower. Every piece of weaponry on the AC-130 is mounted on the left side of the aircraft. The standard method of attack is to fly in a low orbit around the target, continually saturating it with a hail of gunfire, or, alternatively, monitoring the area within the orbit for targets of opportunity.

Because this aircraft is big, slow, and unbalanced, its use requires some form of air superiority, or at least a formidable escort. Luckily for AC-130 crews, air superiority is usually something easily obtained by United States forces.