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.