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"The silence of the inky black night is broken by the distant rumble of turboprop engines droning even closer. Out of the darkness comes the unmistakable sound of weapons being brought to bear. Tracer rounds arc downwards lighting up the sky and a seemingly endless stream of shell-fire tears at the ground, as an unseen night hunter plies its trade. This sort of power and precision can mean only one thing, a US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) AC-130 'Spectre' Gunship is on station."

The airmen and aircraft of AFSOC are certainly amongst the elite of the aviation world, flying some of the most unusual and powerful aircraft in the USAF inventory, and providing a unique and highly specialised service to the combat force. Although the first use of 'Special Operations' aircraft came during World War II, it was the Vietnam War that became the channel for the employment of modern clandestine aviation platforms. This led to the birth of the 'Gunship' concept initially in the shape of the elderly AC-47 'Spooky', followed by the AC-119 'Stinger' and then the AC-130 'Spectre'. Allied to this came the specialised MC-130 with its scissor nose, designed to pluck downed airmen from hostile territory, as well as the infamous HH-3 'Jolly Green Giant' rescue helicopter.

However, it was the ill fated 'Operation Eagle Claw', the attempt to rescue American hostages from the Embassy in Tehran that proved to be the catalyst that formed the dedicated Special Operations Command that exists today. Now in the 21st Century the AFSCOC continues to provide an exceptional role within the Air Force, and operates some of most distinctive aircraft in the world.

Much has been written about the exploits of special operations aircraft in the Vietnam War, and also titles are available on individual aircraft types, however, this 'MDF Extra' brings together in one volume all of the special operations aircraft of today, (with a homage to those of the past) and includes the AC-130 'Spectre', MC-130 'Combat Talon', MC-130P 'Combat Shadow', EC-130 'Commando Solo/Rivet Fire', MC-130 'Combat Spear', CV-22 'Osprey', MH-53 'Pave Low', MH-60 'Pave Hawk' and C-17 'SOL II', looking in detail at their specifications, operations, combat roles, combined with aircrew comments, walk-around and 'in-action' images.

  • AUTHOR: Llinares/Evans
  • FORMAT: 128pp 100s col 297x210 Pb
  • Code: 10982

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