Three were operational with the 4th ACSq. and one was used for crew training at the Forbes AFB. All 6 original FC-47D were later redesignated AC-47D. Air International at Miami, FL, converted 20 more C-47 to AC-47D, which were used from Fall 1965 by the 4th ACSq. The early six were returned to Clark AFB, refitted and camouflaged. The 4th ACSq. became part of the 14th SOW, which was known as 'Antique Wing'. AC-47s were flown by the 3rd SOSq. (tailcode EL) and 4th SOSq (tailcode EN), both part of the 14th SOW, and by the 432nd TFW at Udorn RTAB (tailcode OS).
Their call sign in Vietnam was _SPOOKY_.
Known serials are: 43-48072, 43-48491 _'Git-Em'_Bullett_, 43-48579 _"Puff"_, 43-48701, 43-48801, 43-49274, 43-49852, 44-76534, 44-76985, 45-927.
Partially known serials are: 'OS 43-010', '43-263', 'EN 770' _Spooky_, 'EN 354', 'EN 859', and '717' _Delta_Queen_, and 10 other serials are missing. Also the first armed C-47D was 44-8462 _Terry_&_Pirates_.
One reported serial '36440' may be wrong (couldn't find any, it is not one of the following 42-36440, 43-36440, 44-36440, 43-x6440).
18 AC-47D were given in 1969 to the VNAF, and at least 11 went to the Royal Laotian AF.
Other C-47, working close together with AC-47Ds were four types of EC-47s: EC-47D, which were C-47D, converted to ECM / ELINT aircraft, EC-47N, which were C-47A converted as ECM / ELINT aircraft, with R-1830-90D or -92 engines, EC-47P which were C-47D, converted to ECM / ELINT aircraft, with R-1830-90D or -92 engines, and EC-47Q which were C-47A and C-47D, converted to ECM / ELINT aircraft re-engined with R-2000-4 engines. These aircraft were also used as sensor relay aircraft, and to monitor and home on to VC radio traffic. After pinpointing a target, they called the _Spooky_ gunships. USAF units using EC-47s during the Vietnam conflict were the 14th SOW "Antique Wing", with the 5th SOSq. (tailcode EO) and the 9th SOSq. (tailcode ER), the 432nd TEWS (tailcode AN) and the 360th TEWS (tailcode maybe AJ ?).
Partially known serials were: EC-47N 'AN 42-645', EC-47 'AJ 331'.
Nose arts seen were: EC-47N _Beep!_Beep!_
Some EC-47s were later given to the VNAF.
This aircraft, a short nose Hercules, was tested at Eglin AFB from 06/1967 to 09/1967, and was then deployed to Nha Trang AB at 09/20/1967. It flew its first operational mission seven days later.
The aircraft was a great succsess, and LTV E-Systems at Greenville, TX, got a contract to modify seven early model JC-130A to similar AC-130A, but equipped with better Texas Instruments AN/AAD-4 FLIR, Singer-General Precision fire control computer and a Texas Instruments Moving Target Indicator (MTI), and other equipment to reach current C-130A production standard.
Four were finally deployed to Vietnam in late 1968, and the other went to the 16th SOSq. (tailcode FT) at Ubon RTAB in 05/1969. These seven aircraft were painted black overall and also known as _Plain_Janes_, to distinguish them from the single _Surprise_Package_ AC-130A and the _Pave_Pronto_ AC-130As. The 4413th CCTS, 4410th CCTW (tailcode IH) was later redesignated the 415th SOTSq., 1st SOW at Hurlburt Field, FL (tailcode AH) and was charged with the training of all AC-130 crews.
Apparently, some of the _Plain_Jane_ aircraft were later updated to the _Pave_Pronto_ standard, including 54-1630 and 56-0490.
_Gunship_II_ JC-130A-LM serial was: 54-1626 _Vulcan_Express_ / _Super_Spooky_, (first painted white over grey, and later in three-tone camouflage).
_Plain_Jane_ AC-130A-LM serials were: 53-3129, 54-1625, 1627, 1628, 1629 (the first AC-130 casualty -- two crew member killed 05/24/1969 when she crashed at Ubon after being hit over Laos), 1630 _Azarel_-_Angel_of_Death_ (3 mission markings during _Desert_Storm_).
_Plain_Jane_ AC-130A-7-LM serial was: 56-0490 _Thor_.
Other nose arts were: _Mors_de_Caelis_ (Death from Above).
_Surprise_Package_ AC-130A serial was: unknown, see _Project_Pave_Pronto_.
During _Operation_Desert_Storm_, six AFRES AC-130A of the 711th SOSq., 919th SOG, from Duke Field, FL, were deployed (probably under _Operation_ Proven_Force_ to Turkey: 54-1623, 1630, 55-0011, 0014, 0029, and 56-0509.
_Pave_Pronto_ AC-130A-LM serials were: 54-1623 _Ghost_Rider_, 55-0011, 0014 _Jaws_of_Death_ (20 mission markings during _Desert_Storm_), 0029 (the first loss, crashed at Ubon RTAB after AAA hit on 05/29/1969), 0040, 0043, 0044.
_Pave_Pronto_ AC-130A-20-LM serial was: 55-0046.
_Pave_Pronto_ AC-130A-6-LM serial was: 56-0469.
_Pave_Pronto_ AC-130A-7-LM serial was: 56-0509.
One of the serials belongs to the original _Surprise_Package_ aircraft.
Three AC-130A were lost during the Vietnam conflict, one to AAA, on to a shoulder launched SA-7 _Grail_ over South Vietnam, and one over Laos to an SA-2 _Guideline_. With F-4 Phantom driver, the AC-130 Hercules gunships was known as the _Fabulous_Four_Engined_Fighter_.
Other interesting C-130As were the so called _Blind_Bat_ night FAC aircraft, which initially tested all the FLIR, LLLTV and _Black_Crow_ systems, later used on AC-130A gunships. Serials for C-130A _Blind_Bat_ flareships: unknown.
_Pave_Spectre_ AC-130E-LM serials were: 69-6567 to 6577.
The last one mentioned (69-6576), was lost on 03/14/1994 over the Indian Ocean, due to fire caused by a 105 mm round exploding in the barrel during a test firing. The aircraft was at this time part of _Operation_Restore_Hope_ in Somalia, and was on a 8.5 hour reconnaissance flight, using the callsign _JOCKEY_14_. Of the crew of 14, only 6 survived.
_Pave_Spectre_II_ AC-130H-LM serials were: 69-6567 to 6570, and 6572 to 6577.
Starting in 1973, all AC-130A, and AC-130H were painted overall gunship Grey, and were sometimes referred to as _Grey_Ghosts_.
The call sign for most AC-130 during Vietnam was _SPECTRE_.
Serials of AC-130U: 87-0128 (FSD aircraft), 89-0509 to 0514, 90-0164 to 0167, 92-0253, and maybe others. Several have the well known _Spectre_ (or _Ghostrider_) nose art markings, and 90-0166 was named _Hellraiser_.
Most gunships were built and used during Vietnam, but AC-130 Hercules served also:
Fairchild-Hiller (later Fairchild-Republic) converted 26 C-119G to AC-119G at St. Augustine, FL. Armed with four 7.62 mm SUU-11A/1A minigun pods. Later aircraft got General Electric MXU-470 minigun modules. They were also fitted with an AVQ-8 20kW Xenon light, Night Observation Sight, LAU-74A flare launcher, armor, APU, fire control computers, APR-25 and APR-26 radar warning receiver / ECM-gear. They were used by the 71st SOSq. from 05/1968, until they became part of the 14th SOW as the 17th SOSq.
Their call sign in Vietnam was _SHADOW_.
Known serials were: 52-5892 _Charlie_Chasers_, 5898, 5905, 5907, 5925, 5927, 5938, 5942, 53-3136, 3145, 3170, 3178, 3189, 3192, 3205, 7833, 7848, 7851, 7852, 8114, 8115, 8123, 8131, 8155 and two others.
Other nose art was: _City_of_Columbus_ /_Indiana_/_Shadow_, _Midnite_Special_.
Fairchild also converted 26 C-119G to AC-119K. The prototype was 53-3187. They were first brought to C-119K standard (including J85-GE-17 jet engines in underwing pods) then brought to AC-119G standard and then two M61A1 20 mm Gatling guns, AN/APN-147 Doppler terrain following radar, AN/AAD-4 FLIR, AN/APQ-133 side-looking beacon tracking radar, and AN/APQ-136 search radar was added specifically for the truck-hunting role. After testing, the first was delivered 11/03/1969 to the 18th SOSq. at Nha Trang and were part of the 14th SOW. The 1st SOW (tailcode AH) flew also AC-119K.
Their call sign in Vietnam was _STINGER_ (after the two M61A1 Vulcans).
The serials were: 52-5864, 5889, 5910, 5911, 5926, 5935, 5940, 5945, 9982, 53-3154 _Good_Grief_The_Pea-nut_Special_, 3156, 3187, 3197, 3211, 7826, 7830, 7831, 7839, 7850, 7854, 7877, 7879, 7883, 8121, 8145, and 8148.
Other nose art was: _The_Super_Sow_, _The_Polish_Cannon_, _Fly_United_, and _Montezuma's_Revenge_ (sp).
Some AC-119G and a few AC-119K were turned over to the VNAF in 1971.
The _Black_Spot_ aircraft were often referred to either as AC-123K or as NC-123K. They became operational in 1968 and flew 28 operational missions between 08/19/1968 and 10/23/1968 in the South Korean Sea, trying to stop infiltration from North into South Korea by sea. But no bad guys were caught. From 11/14/1968 to 05/11/1969 the aircraft were used in Vietnam to fly night missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. During this time, they flew 186 missions, destroyed 415 trucks and damaged 273 more. They also attacked boats in the Mekong Delta. They were later assigned to the 16th SOSq. at Udon RTAB. On 05/11/1969 ECM and RAHW gear was installed, and the first aircraft, 54-691, got also a _Black_Crow_ system. They continued their mission from late 1969 till 06/1970 from Udon, often with night fighter escorts, because of heavy anti-aircraft fire.
Both aircraft were later refitted to standard C-123K at Monthan-Davis AFB, AZ (the storage code 'CP024' was assigned to 54-698). Both aircraft retained their unique wrap-around camouflage and served as normal transports. Serials were: 54-691 and 54-698.
Other interesting special operations (test) Provider were:
The only other known thing is that one was overall black, one was green, and the two others were overall grey.
In 1966 Lockheed started to modify four SP-2H under the TRIM (Trails and Road Interdiction, Multisensor) program as gunships. The ASW radome and the MAD tail were removed, and in place of the MAD boom, a twin 20mm cannon was installed. The place of the ASW radar was occupied by an AN/APQ-92 search radar in an external pod / radome. LLLTV and FLIR were mounted in a chin fairing under the nose. A removable, large SLAR (Side-Looking Airborne Radar) was mounted in a pod, like on an OV-1D, on both sides of the aircraft, aft of the wing trailing edge on the fuselage. Also an Airborne Moving Target Indicator, DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack and Navigation Equipment), and an AN/ASD-5 _Black_Crow_ truck ignition sensor were employed, of which much was later used by A-6C TRIM Intruders.
Two forward firing 7.62 mm SUU-11A/1A Minigun pods, two Mk.82 500 lb. GP bombs, and two Mk.77 incendiary bombs were mounted on the wings, outside the engines. They also used special 'sound suppression muffler pipes' for the J34-WE-36 jet engines and flame dampener at the piston engines.
Between 09/01/1968 and 06/16/1969 the four aircraft flew over 200 missions with VAH-21 from Cam Rahn Bay against road and river traffic in the Mekong Delta area. Some missions were flown against the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and inside Laos and Cambodia. They returned back to ConUS in 1969 and were placed in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, after being demodified. All but one (displayed at the Pima AFB Museum) were scrapped.
BuAerNos: 135620 ('SL 1'), 148353 ('SL 2'), 148337 ('SL 3') _Napalm_Nellie_, and another ('SL 4') _Iron_Butterfly_.
Lockheed also prepared twelve SP-2E for conversion to OP-2E, by updating them to SP-2H standard. They were then converted at China Lake into OP-2Es, by removing the MAD tail and installing a blunt bulkhead with AN/ALE-29 Chaff Dispenser in it. Under the tail were a rearward looking camera, and under the nose was mounted a large radome housing an AN/APQ-131 radar.
The mission of the OP-2E was to drop ADSID seismic sensors over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which were carried on multiple ejector racks under the wings and other sensors were carried in the bomb bay. The aircraft were also equipped with SUU-11A/1A Minigun pods under the wings.
The aircraft were deployed with VO-67 at Nakhon Phanom AB, Thailand, and the sensor drop missions were part of _Project_Igloo_White_. Acoustic sensors like _Spikebouy_ and _Acoubouy_ were dropped too, and the signals were relayed by QU-22B or EC-121R aircraft to gunships. After the OP-2Es were retired and sent back to the US, where they were scrapped, F-4D Phantoms were used to drop the sensors under _Project_Igloo_White_.
BuAerNos: 131423 ('MR 10'), 131455 ('MR 6'), 131462, 131525, 131528 ('MR 1'), and 7 others.
Several AP-2E (ex P2V-5F) ECM / SIGINT Neptunes were used by the US Army 1st Radio Research Company, out of Cam Rahn Bay from 07/1967 to 04/1972, and also relayed sensor data.
BuAerNos: 131429, 131458, 131485, 131492, 131496, 131526, 131531, and others.
BuAerNos: 155395 (#2) and 155660 (#1).
The test results are not known, but at least 18 OV-10A were converted to OV-10D NOS (Night Observation System), but without the cannon, even though the turret might be an option.
BuAerNos: 155395, 155396, 155409, 155410, 155436, 155451, 155466, 155468, 155470, 155472, 155473, 155479, 155482, 155489, 155492, 155493, 155494, 155502 and maybe others.
Another OV-10A was tested with an Emerson Electric turret housing a GAU-2B minigun under the fuselage. (BuAerNo: ?)
The USAF tested 1973 fifteen OV-10A under the Pave Nail program as laser designator (Night FAC) aircraft, modified by LTV E-Systems with a Martin laser pod under the fuselage. One of the aircraft used by the 23rd TASS was 67-14623.
Serials were: 72-1304 to 1318, c/n 2050 - 2064, and two others.
Of the other 21 aircraft, I have serials for (73-1699, and 74-2073 - 2092), 13 were later (not under the _Project_Credible_Chase_) delivered to the Thai Air Force, and 5 to the Thai Air Police.
The Pilatus Porter was also planned to be built in license by Fairchild under the OV-12A designation (20 for USN were cancelled), and 2 Pilatus built UV-20A Chiricahua (79-23253 and 23254) were used by the US Army in Berlin.
The Helio AU-24A was the gunship version of the H550A Stallion, with a PT6A-27 turboprop, equipped with a General Electric XM-197 three-barrel 20 mm Gatling gun was mounted in the left cargo door. It also had 5 underwing and fuselage hardpoints. Of the 17 built aircraft, fourteen or fifteen were sold to the Cambodian (Khmer) Air Force.
Serials were: 72-1319 to 1333.
The two prototypes were civil registered 'N9552A' and 'N9551A', of which the second was carrying _four_ AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles!
The Helio Stallion was also built as U-10 Super Courier (ex L-28). Over 120 were built: L-28A (2, later redesignated U-10A), U-10A (26), U-10B extended range and paratrooper doors (57), U-10D heavier (36), but no U-10C.
All _Project_Credible_Chase_ aircraft were tested at Eglin AFB, and had US serials and markings prior to delivery to the SEA countries. They were first natural silver and later overall Olive Drab. The RTAF later flew with a two-tone camouflage. The program was conducted around 1970/71.
On the other hand, some O-2A were used (as were OV-10s, AC-130s and others) for laser illumination of ground targets with AN/AVQ-12 _Pave_Spot_ laser designators, and not only to mark targets with smoke rockets.