The Lockheed AC-130 Gunship is a weapons system that literally puts fear into the hearts of the enemy. Ride along and get an inside look at what it is like being on board the aircraft with the nickname ‘Spooky’.

In 2009, Norwegian journalist Peter Refsdal embedded with the Taliban in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, the United States’ attempt to uproot al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban from power. One of his most interesting observations: The Taliban do not fear fighter jets.

“All the time there’s jets, the sound of jets flying around, and the Taliban, they don’t care about it,” Refsdal told Anderson Cooper in a 2010 interview for CNN. “But there’s one plane that scares them. … It was the sound of this transport plane that scared them. And this is a plane equipped with a lot of heavy machine guns, even a cannon. And the thing is, the Taliban, they know that this gunship is used when there are some Special Forces operations. It’s used as a support, air support during these kind of operations.” – Popular Mechanics

While the C-130 air frame is manufactured by Lockheed it is Boeing that converts it to the AC-130 gunship. First developed during the Vietnam War there have been 47 aircraft built at an estimated cost of over $130 each.

Who can tell us why it is called “Spooky”?

Featured image by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter, US Air Force