Sierra Nevada to install electro-optical sensors on MC-130W Dragon Spear special-ops aircraft

BY John Keller

ROBINS AFB, Ga.-Aircraft weapons experts at Sierra Nevada Corp. in Sparks, Nev., will upgrade 12 U.S. Air Force special operations MC-130W aircraft by installing precision-strike packages that contain electro-optical and infrared targeting systems, a side-mounted 30-millimeter machine gun, and precision-guided munitions under terms of a $22.3 million contract.

Sierra Nevada will install precision-strike packages aboard the Air Force MC-130W Dragon Spear aircraft, which are modified Lockheed Martin C-130 four-engine turboprop utility aircraft for infiltrating and extracting U.S. Special Forces commandos from dangerous locations.

The MC-130W Dragon Spear can carry the armaments of the MC-130 gunship, as well as electro-optical and infrared targeting systems, the Special Operations Precision Guided Munitions (SOPGMS), and a side-mounted Bushmaster II Mk44 30-millimeter gun. Also involved in the Air Force project to add the precision-strike packages to Dragon Spear aircraft are officials of the TCS Inc. segment of L3 Communications in Warner Robins, Ga.

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The U.S. Air Force C-130W Dragon Spear aircraft, shown above, will receive electro-optical sensors in a precision-strike package.

The SOPGMS consists of the Northrop Grumman GBU-44/B Viper Strike glide bomb-a GPS-aided laser-guided variant of the Northrop Grumman Brilliant Anti-Tank (BAT) munition, as well as the Raytheon Griffin air-launched precision-guided missile, designed for irregular warfare where collateral damage is unacceptable.

Sierra Nevada will provide the Dragon Spear aircraft with the precision-strike package, which consists of SENSORS, communications, and weapons. It launches the Viper Strike Griffin precision-guided weapons through tubes mounted on the MC-130W's ramp.

The Dragon Spear aircraft global positioning system (GPS)/inertial navigation system (INS) integrated with its AN/APN-241 low-power color radar and AN/AAQ-17 infrared detection system. The improved threat detection and countermeasures systems include advanced radar and missile warning receivers, chaff, and flare dispensers, and active infrared countermeasures.

Awarding the contract to Sierra Nevada Corp. were officials of the Air Force Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.


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