Home Air SNC gets $700m USSOCOM deal for AC-130J, MC-130J RF countermeasure systems

SNC gets $700m USSOCOM deal for AC-130J, MC-130J RF countermeasure systems

AC-130J Ghostrider gunship
US Air Force file photo of an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship

Sierra Nevada Corp. has won a $700 million contract to develop and deliver radio frequency countermeasure (RFCM) systems for the AC-130J Ghostrider and MC-130J Commando II aircraft operated by Air Force Special Operations Command.

The systems that will be integrated will help protect aircrews from air- and land-based enemy radar and missile systems.

The contract includes RFCM system engineering services, logistics support and spare parts. The Pentagon announcement did not provide details on when the upgrades are expected to be completed.

SNC will incorporate Northrop Grumman’s RFCM system on the aircraft to provide threat detection, precision geolocation, and active countermeasure capabilities. Advanced system processing and robust spectrum support significantly improve aircraft survivability in the modern threat environment.

The AC-130J, a medium-sized, multi-engine tactical aircraft featuring a variety of sensors and weapons for air-to-ground attack, is replacing the AC-130H/U aircraft. The AC-130J provides ground forces an expeditionary, persistent direct-fire platform, ideally suited for urban operations and delivering precision low-yield munitions against ground targets.

The MC-130J Commando II multimission combat transport/special operations tanker replaces the older MC-130N/P Combat Shadow II aircraft. The MC-130J provides AFSOC with an aircraft capable of worldwide employment for missions requiring clandestine single- or multi-ship low-level aerial refueling of Special Operation Force vertical and tilt-rotor aircraft and/or infiltration, resupply and exfiltration by airdrop, or landing on remote airfields.

USSOCOM is developing AC-130J through the integration of modular components onto existing MC-130J aircraft. The modular components include a dual-console mission operator pallet (MOP) in the cargo bay that controls all subsystems with remote displays and control panels on the flight deck; internal, pallet-mounted 30 mm side-firing chain gun and 105 mm cannon; wing-mounted GBU-39/B GPS-guided small diameter bombs and AGM-176 Griffin laser-guided missiles. The command also plans to eventually equip the Ghostriders with directed energy weapon systems or lasers, as they are more commonly known.