The AC-130 "Spectre
is a four-engine, turbo-prop, modified heavily armed version of the C-130
" transport aircraft.
The AC-130 is armed with a 40-mm Bofors cannon and a 105-mm Howitzer cannon, as well as a 25-mm gun, used to blast a target with hot leadden death.
The AC-130 has a crew of up to 14 to operate the plane. It carries
a wide array of defensive countermeasures including chaff and flares to counter radar and infrared-guided anti-aircraft missiles.
It's also equipped with an armor protection system, as well as advanced electronic warfare equipment and high resolution All Light Level Television for night operations.
The earliest version of the AC-130 was first deployed in 1967 during the Vietnam War, providing close air support for ground-based troops and inflicting heavy damage on North Vietnamese troops and equipment.
In 1989, the aircraft was used in the U.S. invasion of Panama, destroying the national Defense Force Headquarters and several command and control facilities.
The AC-130 was also used in Somalia in 1993 when one was used to level the house of Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid.
They were also used in the NATO mission over Bosnia-Herzegovina, providing air interdiction against key targets in areas around the city of Sarajevo.