Here’s Why The AC-130 Is Called ‘Hell In The Sky’

Back in Vietnam, we called this bad boy “Spooky.” And it was spooky to suddenly see long, straight lines of red tracer fire descending out into the night sky, then to hear the long “brrrrrrp” following it. You knew a lot of bullets were fired because only every fifth round was a tracer. Yet that’s all you saw was the long, waving lines of red.

We could only imagine what those enemy troops on the ground were experiencing as those rounds rained down on them from that unseen source up in the dark heavens. We were just glad that we were not the targets of such a powerful weapon.

The AC-130 is colloquially known as
Source :YouTube/Smithsonian Channel
The AC-130 is colloquially known as “Hell in the Sky.”

This video is about the latest version of those old C-130s or DC3s that were jerry-rigged cargo planes turned into aerial weapons systems of immense power and value to the troops on the ground. These are now the purposely built AC-130 flying weapons systems. These now have multiple weapons systems, guided by the latest technologies that make them even more powerful and more accurate as aerial fire support for our ground forces.

The AC-130 is capable of massive firepower.
Source: YouTube/Smithsonian Channel
The AC-130 is capable of massive firepower.

This latest version has been called “Hell in the Sky” because of its overwhelming firepower. That firepower includes a 25mm gatling gun called “the crowd pleaser.” It can fire 350 rounds in 12 seconds. That literally is the equivalent of raining bullets.

This aircraft can rain bullets down on ground targets.
Source: YouTube/Smithsonian Channel
This aircraft can rain bullets down on ground targets.

The second weapon system on this AC-130 is the 40mm Bofors cannon. It can fire up to 200 rounds per minute, with incredible accuracy

And the final weapon, the largest and most powerful on the plane, is the 105mm howitzer. It can fire 10 artillery rounds per minute at tanks, buildings, and other hardened targets.

At night, the AC-130 is a threatening presence.
Source: YouTube/Smithsonian Channel
At night, the AC-130 is a threatening presence.

All of these weapons can be used in tandem or separately. They are targeted and managed by the weapons operator on the airplane. He or she can choose which weapon is more appropriate for a given target, or set of targets and aim and shoot.

Now you can see and know why, this AC-130 really is “hell in the sky” for enemy forces.

Learn more in the video below.

Dan Doyle

Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.

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