The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) will be upgrading its fleet of AC-130J Ghostrider and MC-130J Commando II aircraft with the addition of countermeasures systems against air and ground threats.
Last week, SOCOM awarded Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) a $700,000,000 contract for the development and procurement of Radio Frequency Countermeasure (RFCM) systems. The RFCM system upgrades will enhance the aircraft’s ability to fend off enemy radar detection and missiles from both the air and land. The countermeasure systems, moreover, will help the aircraft identify threats more effectively and also bolster its geolocation capabilities.
The AC-130J Ghostrider and MC-130J Commando II are operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command. The former is primarily a close-air-support platform, whereas the latter is mainly an infiltration and air-refueling aircraft.
The AC-130L Ghostrider can also conduct air interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Aside from its clandestine infiltration and refueling capabilities, the MC-130J Commando II is sometimes deployed in support of psychological operations by airdropping leaflets. The aircraft platform has been used extensively in this role during the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.