AC-119: Taiwan’s first gunship

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Today I’ll be suggesting the Taiwanese AC-119 gunship


Regular ROCAF C-119 but mostly similar to AC-119.

During the late 1950’s and 1960’s the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) replaced their old C-46 transports with C-119G cargo planes. These aircraft would go on to serve a great multitude of roles from being a regular cargo and transport aircraft to aerial photography, ambulatory/emergency services, cloud-seeding, fire fighting, shore patrol, bomber (BC-119), gunship, etc.

In 1967 22 C-119G aircraft had their propellers converted from four-bladed to three bladed. This Taiwanese modification would be known as the C-119L. However this wouldn’t be the only major modification to be made on the aircraft.

In the early 1970’s upon seeing the success of US cargo planes converted into gunships during the Vietnam war, the ROCAF became interested in converting their own C-119 cargo planes into AC-119 gunships. The need for gunships arose when the ROCAF figured they may need a way to shoot at PLA soldiers, ships, and equipment landing on or near the beach heads of Taiwan and her outer islands in the event of war.

Initially around 10 C-119’s were converted to AC-119’s and 3-4 possible weapon variations exist. The most common variant was AC-119’s mounted with 6 x M3 Browning machine guns from the F-86 Sabre. This version could switch out one of the M3’s for a 20mm M39A1 cannon. The guns were electronically operated and were fixed in place at 30 degrees downwards.

In early versions a 20mm M39A1 cannon from F-100’s were mounted in the nose of the aircraft along with 6 x 0.50 cal M3 machine guns were mounted in the left side. The nose cannon allowed the aircraft to perform diving attacks. However the nose cannon was removed shortly after AC-119 number 3164 crashed and all crew were killed. Investigations found the nose cannon caused excessive resistance and which led to one of the engines to overheat and catch fire.

The guns were aimed and fired by the pilot or co-pilot in the cockpit using a gun camera, the navigator operated an infrared sight and gave the pilots information on wind direction and speed, the communications officer helps with in air enemy concerns and listen to various communication messages, chief engineer and loading chief assists the captain to check the breaker and machine gun switch, and the armorer took care of reloading and maintaining the guns along with operating the searchlight (nighttime missions).

Training missions were conducted at sea and the usual firing altitude was around 1,200-3,000 feet. During nighttime training missions flares were dropped from the aircraft to illuminate its targets before shooting. During operations pilots would often report extreme shaking of the aircraft due to the recoil of the guns firing.

In 1996 during the Taiwan strait crisis a few C-119’s were converted to AC-119’s but with 2 x M61 Vulcans taken from retiring F-104 fighters. They were mounted in the belly of the aircraft and were mainly used to help defend Taiwan’s outer islands just in case of war breaking out during the crisis.

The ROCAF AC-119 short revival during the third Taiwan strait crisis would be the last time such an aircraft would fly over Taiwanese skies. By the early to mid 2000’s most C-119’s would be taken out of service and replaced with the C-130.

Specifications:

Length: 86 ft 5.75 in (26.3589 m)

Wingspan: 109 ft 3.25 in (33.3058 m)

Height: 26 ft 7.75 in (8.1217 m)

Engine: 2 R-3350-89B reciprocating engines, 3,500 hp each

Max speed: 349 km/h (217 mph)

Armaments:

6 x 0.50 cal M3 Browning (left side) (1,000 rpg)

6 x 0.50 cal M3 Browning (left side) and 1 x 20mm M39A1 in the nose

5 x 0.50 cal M3 Browning and 1 x 20mm M39A1(left side)

2 x 20mm M61 Vulcan

In Game

In game the AC-119 would be an interesting and very niche aircraft if implemented. Because most of its guns are mounted on the left side and a circular flight pattern is needed to get an effective area of fire, some sort of autopilot that holds the plane in a circular flight pattern and a “area of fire reticle” (sort of like how the bombing reticle works like) may help the AC-119 be more effective at destroying vehicles. With a wide variety of possible armament configurations it could be effective at taking out lightly armored coastal and ground vehicles. Its main drawbacks are its slow speed and low altitude strafing which would make it a very inviting target for AA to shoot down. Because of this it may work better in low tier heli PVE where it would have a better chance at survival and effectiveness.

https://i.imgur.com/sXqDDmv.gif

Other: if anyone has any more images of any version of the Taiwanese AC-119 please feel free to upload them!

Sources

https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-119運輸機

https://gkjlai.pixnet.net/blog/search/AC-119/1

http://skywarriors-gallery.com/rocaf 10aw-119.htm

鵬運萬里:空軍C-119部隊官兵訪問紀錄

By 郭冠麟 · 2018

2 Likes

it will be a fun vihicle to play, but with all due respect gunship will be other spaas or fighters’ yummy cookie