For the first time, the US Air Force deployed its state-of-the-art gunship, the AC-130J (aka Ghost Rider), to South Korea to participate in the ROK-US joint special operations training ‘Teak Knife.’
The joint drill, known as “Teak Knife,” has been ongoing for almost a month. The exercise aims to ensure special operations personnel are combat-ready in any circumstance while reinforcing the unwavering relationship between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
The upgraded AC-130J model, armed with precision-guided weapons, is taking part in joint training operations in South Korea for the first time. In a rare move, the South Korean military has shared a video of the USAF AC-130J (also known as Ghost Rider) engaging in live-fire training over the Korean Peninsula.
The video shows the AC-130J unleashing various weapons, such as 105mm howitzers, air-to-ground smart munitions like the GBU-39, 30mm cannons, AGM-176 Griffin, and AGM-113 Hellfire missiles.
The live firing exercise was carried out by the aircraft above the Jikdo shooting range near the waters off Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, at the height of roughly three kilometers. When the missiles, cannons, and howitzers struck the targets, massive flames and smoke erupted across the shooting range.
A "Ghostrider" pummelling an island with Bushmaster 30mm rounds is the best video you'll see today! The surgical firepower of this fourth-generation battleplane (AC-130J) is unbelievable! #avgeeks #aviation #aviationdaily #aviationlovers #SOF #USAF pic.twitter.com/qN9zM2DFng
— Air Power (@RealAirPower1) March 3, 2023
According to a military official, when South Korean and American special forces broke through enemy lines during the live-fire exercise and asked for fire guidance for crucial targets, the AC-130J hit the targets right away.
On March 2, in a statement, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the Teak Knife exercise has been going on between South Korea and the US since early February.
This week, they are training special forces operatives to use aircraft firepower guidance to carry out targeted attacks in hostile territory. General Kim Seung-Kyum, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also visited the training facility to demonstrate the military’s commitment to maintaining readiness for battle.
This is the first time in 20 years that a JCS chair has physically inspected a Teak Knife drill. The visit comes as the allies prepare for another joint exercise named Freedom Shield (FS) in the coming weeks.
The Teak Knife exercise simulates ousting Pyongyang’s authorities, and the presence of the top military commander in charge of overseeing the training is thought to be a warning to North Korea’s top officials, who had threatened to cause trouble ahead of the upcoming joint ROK-US Freedom Shield (FS) exercise.
The heavily equipped ground-attack model of the C-130 Hercules cargo plane, the AC-13OJ, is outfitted with precision-guided missiles, cannons, and howitzers. The aircraft deployment in South Korea is meant to send a clear message to North Korea.
It is known as the “Battleship of the Sky” and the “Angel of Death” because of its powerful weaponry, which rains shells down on the target whether it is day or night.
The most recent AC-130 model, the AC-13OJ, features cutting-edge navigational technology, precision strike capabilities, and covert infiltration capability.
In addition to AC-130J, the US Air Force deployed an MC-130J multi-mission combat transport aircraft to South Korea to participate in the combined drills.
The MC-130J transport aircraft was sent out from the 353rd Special Operations Wing stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, while the AC-130J was flown out of Hurlburt Field in Florida.
The official noted that during the ongoing exercise, the allies could use strike aircraft stationed in South Korea with special operations-focused aircraft like the AC-130J and MC-130J in training.
Due to the wholly integrated navigation systems, including two inertial navigation systems and a global positioning system, the AC-130J aircraft can navigate incredibly accurately.
Aircraft defense systems and color weather radar are also incorporated. The aircraft can be refueled in the air using the Universal Air Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation system.
The AC-130J offers ground forces a direct-fire platform that is expeditionary, persistent, well-suited for urban operations, and capable of delivering pinpoint low-yield munitions on ground targets.
The AC-130J is a fifth-generation gunship meant to replace the fleet of aging AC-130U/W gunships. With a long combat history dating back to Vietnam, AC-130 gunships are known for their close air support missions that saved countless lives while destroying more than 10,000 trucks.