The Lockheed AC-130U Spooky Gunship is a heavily armed ground attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support. The AC-130 Gunship II superseded the AC-47 Spooky and AC-119 Shadow during the Vietnam War.
— Battlelog description
The Gunship is a vehicle featured in Battlefield 3: Armored Kill. The vehicle is AI controlled, and automatically patrols an area of the map by flying in its characteristic circles. The gunship also adjusts for altitude, as seen on Alborz Mountains.
Players can spawn into either of two gunner positions; one for a 105mm gun, and another using a 25mm Cannon—an autocannon similar to those equipped on attack helicopters. Both gunners can also access top-mounted 360 degree anti-aircraft guns as well as IR Flares, and have Zoom Optics for all weapons. Neither of the weapons are affected by bullet drop, but both have lengthy travel time to target.
Players can parachute from the vehicle through the Gunship Paradrop spawn point.
The gunship is vulnerable to enemy aircraft and anti-air weaponry, as it is quite slow and large. Engineer anti-air weapons inflict about 20% damage, while vehicle-mounted heatseekers do about 11% damage. It does not regenerate damage, but does have a high tolerance and plenty of health and does not disable.
Control of the Gunship is determined by control of a base—when capturing, an aircraft icon will appear next to the base name, signalling that capturing the base will allow that team to use the Gunship. However, a Gunship deployed by the enemy will remain in their possession until it is destroyed. It can be challenging to capture the base with an enemy Gunship active, as the associated base is generally within its shooting range.
The gunship is available to the attacking team in Rush. It automatically advances to the next set of M-COMs, its center point slowly drifting into position. A patch was released that resulted in the gunship to only spawn at the start of the match and once every time a set of M-COM stations is destroyed.
|Primary weapon (ground attack)|
|Secondary weapon (anti-air)|
|25mm gunner position|
|105mm gunner position|
|Switch seats (if unoccupied)|
The AC-130 Gunship is a vehicle featured in Battlefield 4 as a "main asset" Commander resource. Depending on which team holds control over its associated control point, the commander can deploy the gunship overhead.
A deployed gunship acts as a spawn point for the entire team, with players immediately occupying one of three gunner positions. Players below may see a "GUNSHIP OVERHEAD" message if they are within its reach.
This version of the gunship contains the 40mm Bofors cannon as its second gunner seat, moving the 25mm Equalizer cannon to third position and the 105mm gun to first position. The occupants can freely jump from the gunship at any time, potentially accessing areas that are not currently covered by a spawn point.
The two anti-aircraft batteries and paradrop position appearing in Battlefield 3 are no longer available.
Gunships can receive up to 20% damage from the enemy commander's EMP UAV. Should the gunship control point change hands, the commander can gradually kill the old gunship and its occupants by deploying a new one. If the team member get kills with AC-130, the Commander can get assist bonus. Deploy the Gunship as Commander counts towards Offensive Commander assignment.
The gunship can automatically protect itself against Heat Seekers and radar-guided missiles by deploying flares.
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The AC-130 Gunship appears in the singleplayer campaign of Battlefield Hardline in the episode Sovereign Land. Under assault from Tony Alperts forces, Nick Mendoza enters a heavily damaged Gunship that was somehow obtained by Tony Alpert. While unable to fly, the aircraft's main gun is still operational, allowing Nick to quickly eliminate Alpert's forces before heading toward the nearby Brute.
- In real life, the AC-130 is solely operated by the United States Air Force despite the fact that the USMC, RGF and PLA are shown using it in the Battlefield series.
- If the gunship is spotted, the player will describe it as a jet, as there is no dedicated callout. The same happens in Battlefield 4.
- The AC-130 has USAF markings on its tail and wings, regardless of which team is operating it.
- There is no seat for a 40mm Bofors gunner.
- The HUD of the 105mm gunner seat is similar to that of the M1A2 Abrams and M1128, particularly the aiming reticle.
- Interestingly, two AA guns are mounted on top of the gunship even though they do not appear on any variant of the AC-130 in real life. These use 25mm gatling cannons that would normally appear as a ground attack weapon.
- The Gunship's description on Battlelog describes it as being armed with a Heavy Machine gun as the first gunner's weapon, although in-game the first gunner operates what appears to be more like the attack helicopter gunner's main gun.
- The period of time that the gunship takes to complete a full circle depends on the map size, ranging from 72–120 seconds.
- A similar aircraft, the Dropship, is featured in Battlefield 3: End Game that allows infantry and vehicle paradrop.
- On PC, the controls for each position were originally hard-coded to default values, which may have confused players that customized their key bindings. The patch that corrected this also removed Thermal Optics from the 105mm cannon position. Both seats now use day optics at all times. Splash damage from the 105mm cannon was also decreased against infantry.
- In alpha multiplayer gameplay, the gunship appeared to carry a fourth passenger in addition to the three gunners.
- The Battlefield 4: Siege of Shanghai Trailer shows a gunship in action. It does not appear on this map in retail multiplayer.
- When the AC-130 is destroyed, there's no explosion. It just disappears without a trace.
- Ramming jets into the AC-130 does not heavily harm either the jet pilot nor AC-130, the jet can just fly off & continue attacking it.
- The AC-130 Gunship features the words "United States Air Force" written in Spanish on its side, spelling "Fuerza Aérea de los Estados Unidos".
- The HUD used for the AC-130 gunner seat is the exact same HUD used for the AC-130's 105mm cannon in Battlefield 4, albeit without the Thermal Optics.