The U.S. Air Force Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a military aircraft designed and manufactured for the primary role of attacking targets on the ground more accurately than fighter bombers. They can also face stronger low-level air defense systems, and hence they are ideal for closer air support for ground troops on the battlefield.
The basic airframe of AC-130 gunship, based on the C-130 Hercules transport plane, is manufactured by Lockheed Martin and Boeing converts it into a fully functional gunship. Its sole user is the U.S. Air Force which uses AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky variants.
The AC-130H is heavily armed with 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannons, Bofors 40mm autocannon, and 105 mm M102 cannon. The US Air Force uses the AC-130 gunships for bombing raids, air interdiction, force protection and close air support, including support for ground troops and escorting convoys.
The above photo shows An AC-130H gunship of the 16th Special Operations Squadron, jettisoning decoy flares as an infrared countermeasure to deter and misguide heat-seeking missiles during a multi-gunship formation training on August 24, 2007.