19 December 2014
2014 was a tragic year for many countries: domestic and international conflicts worldwide forced leaders of many countries to look closely at the military potential of their forces. The experience of the Vietnam War (1957-1975) became timely again. Lockheed AC-130 airplanes, which were produced as a modernised version of C-130, was actively engaged in the U.S. Air Force since America’s official involvementin the conflict in 1965. AC-130 provided air support for troops, conducted patrol missions and attacked marked land objects and moving forces of the enemy, which were identified during patrol missions. C-130 was also used to protect U.S. military bases and other important objects. Currently the United States Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) uses 8 AC-130-H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky.
The modern version of Gunship is equipped with a state-of-art digital search and attack system. It includes a radar, television and thermal targeting systems. This provides more opportunities to use weapons effectively 24/7 in any weather conditions.
After Airbus resumed its production of АС-295 Gunship on the basis of AC-235 Light Gunship, the number of weaponised transport airplanes has grown. Thus, AC-295 was equipped with a fire control system, electro-optical and radar sensors, Hellfire missiles, ATK’s side-mounted M230 30mm chain gun, an integrated defensive suite and APKWS II 2.75 inch unguided rockets. The airplane got new missile holders on its left and right boards that look similarly to those that combat helicopters have. The first serial AC-295 is scheduled to arrive in 2015 and the first delivery is going to take place in 2016. All major systems underwent preliminary tests in 2014 on board of AC-235. This aircraft was demonstrated during SOFEX 2014 exhibition in Jordan. The Ministry of Defence of Jordan signed a contract with Airbus for the first AC-295, which will be used to fight the ISIS forces. АС-235 / 295 design similar to Аn-140. Moreover, a lot of designer solutions of An-140 are more efficient, given “Antonov’s” long-term experience of producing transport passenger airplanes. The simplicity and reliability of the airplane design enables to organise a cheap and quick convertation of An-140-100 into a Gunship in accordance with the requirements of military customers.
New horizons for Antonov Аn-140.
After the first flight of the serial An-140 in 1999, 34 airplanes had been produced (until December 2014). It is enough to overcome all problems linked with the maturation of the product and investigate technical features of the aircraft: fuel efficiency, ability to fly in any weather conditions, simplicity in use, as well as opportunities for further modification of new and existing airplanes.
The concept of An-140-100 Gunship can include new 20mm GI-2 (South Africa) or Giat M621 (France) on Vektor F2 turrets with a flexible airtight pad and television targeting system. A THL 20 turret (France) could be installed next to the cargo section, at the bottom of the fuselage. Minigun M134 on a special stand can be used on heights of flight up to 2,000m to fire from emergency exit. The targeting system is based on 3 camera gimbal, multiple camera configurations (EO, EO spotter, HD, LWIR, MWIR, laser options, LWIR options). 🔳 2014