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AC-17 Spectre III

More total crap by B4Ctom1


AC-17 Aircraft firing one of it's two new 155mm Howitzers

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Three larger GAU-8 Avenger 30mm guns from A-10's

Two larger M777 light weight 155mm Howitzers

Racks of side firing DAGR mini laser guided missiles for medium range engagements

Racks of side firing GBU-44/B Viper Strike GPS/laser guided glide missiles for longer range engagements

Standard loading of AGM-88 HARM missiles for suppression of radar guided air defense batteries

Standard loading of AIM-120 AMRAAM Slammer missiles for defence against airborne threats. Additionally a seekers could be slaved to the on board electronic warfare suite for airborne threat search.


A standard USAF AN/ALQ-131 Self Protection Jamming array pod

The very powerful AN/ALQ-99E Jamming Pod connected to the electronic warfare suite

The Bright Star FLIR target designator

The newest Star SAFIRE "HD" FLIR for long range surveillance, target search, and battle damage recording for cool liveleak/youtube videos.


This is a base model comparison for scale purposes only. Thus regular C-130 and C-17 models are used.

Stall speed

C-130 - 100-115 Knots
C-17 - The C-17 is meant for paratrooper deployment, as was the C-5 galaxy. The stall speed numbers for this aircraft are not only abnormally low for an aircraft of its size, but also so low that they are not published to the public. Of note, the stall speed for the much larger C-5 Glaxy are known to be 115 Knots. The reasons for the C-17's low speed ability are listed below in the conclusion section.

Max speed

C-130 - 348 Knots
C-17 - 450 Knots


C-130 - with 18,144 kg payload and MIL-C-5011A reserves, 2835 Nautical Miles
C-17 - with 76,657 kg payload 2420 Nautical Miles

Minimum takeoff distance

C-130 - 1800 Feet
C-17 - less than 1400 Feet with 44,000 pounds payload (Boeing)

Minimum landing distance

C-130 - 1400 Feet
C-17 - less than 1400 Feet with 44,000 pounds payload (Boeing)

(note: actual AC-130 specifications in all columns are lower than the C-130, AC-17 specifications would also be lower than the C-17)

In Conclusion

The biggest concern between the two is likely stall speed. This is basically a non-issue for a few of the following reasons; without a doubt stall speed performance was a huge requirement in the design of the C-17. The positions of the engines allows the use of propulsive lift technology, first tested on the YC-15, in which the engine exhaust is trapped under the wing and forced to flow over both sides of the single split flap on the wing trailing edge. The exhaust then leaves the flap trailing edge at an angle related to the flap deflection. A full span leading edge slat helps the wing maintain optimum lift and stall characteristics. The combination of the features allows a steep, low speed final approach with a low landing speed, and incredible near stall speed performance.

The C-17 also makes great use of Vortex Generators. Normally at high angles of attack the boundry layer will become 'unstuck' and the aircraft will stall. If you can imagine a large curlover of air, departing the top wing surface such that the curlover causes airflow at the trailing edge to be reverse in direction to flight, along the top surface. The vortex generators, being proud of the surface, cause a similar but smaller curlover in a lateral sence. If you wind a bit of paper around a stick then pull the ends apart you get a coil of paper like the coil of a spring, this is what the vortex might look like if you could see it. The airflow of the vortex has the effect of reaching up and grabbing the departed air and returning it to the wing and thus re-establishing a boundry layer, even though it is a turbulant one. This allows the wing to continue to fly when otherwise it would have stalled. When you fit high lift devices to the leading edge, the the wing will still fly but be uncontrollerble because the reverse flow at the trailing edge is in the wrong direction for the alerons to work. Vortex generators are thus normally place ahead of the alerons in this case so that the alerons will still function in the correct sense even into the stall, thus making the aircraft safer to fly at low speeds.

Also found on the tips of the wings of the C-17 are winglets. Developed in the mid-1970s, NASA Langley developed the winglet concept through wind tunnel research. Winglets are small, winglike vertical surfaces at each wing-tip of an aircraft that enable the airplane to fly with greater efficiency. They curve flow at the wingtip to produce a forward force on the airplane, similar to the sail on a sail boat. The concept was first demonstrated in-flight on a corporate Gates Model 28 Longhorn series Learjet, and further tested on a large DC-10 aircraft as part of the NASA Aircraft Energy Efficiency (ACEE) Program. They have the added benefit of increased low speed stability.

Likely the most important fact is that the AC-130 itself doesn't fly at stall speed while in normal engagements.


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