Wayne Mutza


Specialty Press


$34.95 from Specialty Press


Scott Van Aken

Notes: ISBN 978-1-58007-123-9, 204 pages, over 350 photos and illustrations.

The latest in Specialty Press' new books is one on what could properly be called the battleships of the sky, the Gunship. Today, when one thinks of these aircraft one pictures a C-130 Hercules bristling with weapons on the left side of the fuselage and painted in a sinister grey camouflage scheme. Thanks to the increase in technology, these aircraft are able to provide a withering fire at a pin point location and the results are devastating to say the least.

In this new book, author Wayne Mutza takes a look at the history of the USAF's gunship program from its beginnings in the 1960s with the FC-47 (later AC-47), to the improved AC-119 to the early AC-130A program and to the AC-130U aircraft that are flying missions today. Through all this is more than just the development of the aircraft and systems, but also a look at what it was like to ply the skies of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos on the look for enemy troops and facilities.

We also get a look at the systems carried from the .30 calibre guns to the miniguns, 20mm and 40mm and later 105mm cannon. All of these weapons required some rather ingenious methods of installation and a way to get rid of all the gun gas a smoke from these rapid-fire guns. Of course, the gunship could not operate without decent gun sights and other electronic devices to help spot the enemy and all of that is covered as well.

In addition to the main USAF gunships, there are sections on other types like the Black Spot NC-123Ks and the Tropic Moon B-57Gs. Further sections cover gunships as used by other countries. Most nearby South East Asian countries like South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand operated AC-47s, and other types. The AC-47 is still be flown today by Colombia, El Salvador, Dominican Republic and South Africa, though in many of these cases, they are upgraded turboprop Basler Aviation conversions. All of which are covered, making this the most complete book on the subject yet published.

It is another superb Specialty Press offering. One I found fascinating and enjoyable to read. I know you will as well and highly recommend it to you.

April 2009

Review book courtesy of Specialty Press, where you can order your copy of this and many other superb aviation and modeling books. Visit their website at the link above or call them at 1-800-895-4585

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