Appearing on the “Major Command Priorities” panel at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in February 2015, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), addressed the balance between ongoing platform recapitalization and the acquisition of new special operations platforms.
Heithold emphasized that current operational environments do not allow AFSOC to “take a knee and recapitalize” but rather require “maintain[ing] a level of capability and readiness today with my legacy force as we go through this recap effort.”
Turning to the command’s gunships, he said he was “pretty pleased right now with what I’m seeing on the recap efforts of the AC-130.”
“Most of you know that we’re moving to the AC-130J,” he said. “I call it the ‘ultimate battle plane,’ because I’m going to have a ‘dial a bomb’ capability and I’m going to have guns on it. We’re ‘upgunning’ the aircraft with a 105 [mm]. It will be an ultimate night CAS [close air support] airplane for special operations.”