Recapitalizing Special-Mission Aircraft

Efforts to recapitalize and modernize US Special Operations Command’s rotary- and fixed-wing fleets are progressing well, said Adm. William McRaven, SOCOM commander. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, McRaven said Air Force Special Operations Command has fielded 23 of its 50 planned CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. The Osprey “continues to deliver unmatched speed and range to SOF battlefield commanders,” he said. AFSOC also has completed modifying 12 MC-130Ws with a precision strike package, “which continues to perform superbly in combat,” said McRaven. It has also started efforts to field AC-130J gunships to replace legacy AC-130 platforms, “using the MC-130W PSP as a key risk-reducing capability,” he noted. Further, AFSOC’s MC-130J successfully completed developmental testing in June and is on track to replace aging MC-130E and MC-130P special-mission aircraft, he said. (McRaven’s prepared testimony)