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