Douglas AC-47D "Spooky" Gunship


Number Built/Converted

Gunship version of C-47
  • Serial numbers (incomplete): 43-48072, 43-48139, 43-48491, 43-48579, 43-48599, 43-48708, 43-48770, 43-48783, 43-48801, 43-48852, 43-48892, 43-48902, 43-48904, 43-48905, 43-48991, 43-49029, 43-49095, 43-49103, 43-49190, 43-49250, 43-49274, 43-49331, 43-49354, 43-49387, 43-49495, 43-49499, 43-49705, 43-49766, 43-49930, 44-76534, 44-76593, 44-76598, 44-76625, 44-76643, 44-77290, 45-0919, 45-0927, 45-0946, 45-0979, 45-0985, 45-1002, 45-1057, 45-1077
(c) Thomas Zangla
"Spooky" at work... One can see the circular motion by the aurcraft and lead pouring down; the lights are flares dropped by the gunship. Photo by Thomas Zangla.

Span: 95 ft. 0 in.
Length: 64 ft. 5 in.
Height: 16 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 33,000 lbs. loaded
Armament: Three SUU-11A 7.62 mm "miniguns" firing at up to 6,000 rounds per minute. The AC-47D typically carried about 16,500 rounds of ammunition. Note: Three aircraft initially equipped with 8 or 10 .30-cal. machine guns and others had just two SUU-11A miniguns (due to lack of availability from the manufacturer). Later, the SUU-11A's were replaced by specially designed General Electric MXU-470/A 7.62 mm miniguns. 48 MK-24 Mod 3 flares with 2 million candlepower and a 3 minute maximum burn duration. Note: Initially (in 1964 and early 1965) 30 MK-6 flares of 750,000 candlepower were carried before the MK-24 flares were available. Later in the war, several replacements for the MK-24 flares were proposed including the MK-33 one million candlepower rocket and MLU-32/B99 "Briteye" 5 million candlepower flare.
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830s of 1,200 hp. ea.
Crew: Seven or Eight (Pilot, Copilot, Navigator, Flight Engineer, Loadmaster, 2 gunners and a South Vietnamese observer)

Maximum speed: 232 mph.
Cruising speed: 175 mph.
Attack speed: 120 knots
Combat duration: 7 hours maximum although a typical combat mission was about 5 or 6 hours max.
Service Ceiling: 24,450 ft.

Source: USAF Museum

Note: The designation AC-47D has been used twice. The second use is the so-called "Spooky" in Vietnam. The first use was for airplanes modified for the AACS (Army Airways Communication System).
The Spooky was briefly known as the FC-47 before being redesignated AC-47. At the same time, the AACS AC-47 was redesignated EC-47.

C-47 Skytrain
DC-3 historical background

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