AFSOC MC-130W Combat Spear turned into a Dragon Spear

1410
The first of twelve MC-130W Dragon Spears arrives at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. July 29, 2010. The Dragon Spear will be assigned to the 73rd Special Operations Squadron and provide new cutting edge mission capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Maynelinne De La Cruz)

The MC-130W Combat Spear conducts infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of U.S. and Allied Special Operations Forces.
The MC-130W has the most technologically advanced refueling system available and provides the ability to refuel special operations helicopters and the CV-22. The navigation suite is a fully integrated Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System that interfaces with Low Power Color Radar and Infrared Detection System.

The first of twelve MC-130W Dragon Spears arrives at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. July 29, 2010. The Dragon Spear will be assigned to the 73rd Special Operations Squadron and provide new cutting edge mission capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Maynelinne De La Cruz)

Other collateral missions include forward arming and refueling, specialized ordnance delivery, airdrops in support of psychological operations and limited command and control capabilities.

The 73rd Special Operation Squadron takes on a new type of aircraft, the MC-130W Dragon Spear, July 29, 2010. In the future, Cannon will be host to 12 Dragon Spears. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Maynelinne De La Cruz)
AFSOC MC130W over Hurlburt.

Seeking to augment the aging AC-130 gunships operated by Air Force Special Operantions Command (AFSOC) The U.S. Air Force began exploring optional conversion of MC-130Ws into interim gunships. The Combat Spear conversion included the introduction of wing-mounted pylons carrying GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bombs (SDB’s), and provision for ‘roll-on, roll-off’ gun mounts equipped with an integrated package of sensors, communications systems, Gunslinger launch tubes firing ‘Stand Off Precision Guided Munition (SOPGM) such as the GBU-44V Viper Strike or Griffin Small tactical Munition (STM) precision guided weapons. These weapons are managed and controlled from a battle management system (BMS) which comes with the Gunslinger kit, providing the weapon’s operator aircrew member the ability to operate all aspects of the Gunslinger system. The kit also includes Bushmaster II Mk44 30mm guns. The Air Forces’ goal was to deliver a conversion system that will enable the squadron to equip an MC-130W into a Gunslinger armed platform in five minutes.

In September 2010 L-3 Communications was awarded $61 million to deliver eight such Ro-Ro kits, converting the MC-130W Combat Spear into ‘Dragon Spear’ gunships. the conversion of four additional aircraft is an option, expanding the contract t 12 planes.

The MC-130W Weapons suite includes Gunslinger launch tubes firing GBU-44V Viper Strike or Grffin Small tactical Munition (STM) precision guided weapons and Bushmaster II Mk44 30mm guns. Photo: USAF