The U.S. Air Force's 4th Special Operations Squadron has received the first delivery of an updated AC-130J Ghostrider gunship equipped with the aircraft's Block 30 configuration, Military.com reported Friday. The service branch accepted the initial AC-130J Block 30 unit during a ceremony at Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview, Fla., according to a USAF SOCOM press release.
The Block 30 model features updated avionics technology and software, a precision-focused 30mm cannon and the same 105mm cannon mounted on the AC-130U Spooky, the squadron's employed gunship. The Ghostrider is also designed to carry and fire 250-pound, guided small-diameter bombs and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
The squadron intends to keep the first new gunship as a test-only unit for around a year before deployment in late 2019 or early 2020.