During the course of the Southeast Asian war, the United States developed many new types of air tactics that had never previously been needed. Invariably putting existing technology through radical redevelopment, new missions were devised, often under bizarre code-names.
Spookies, Spectres and Shadows
To meet the needs of unconventional warfare, a series of benign cargo planes were modified into some of the most extraordinary and destructive weapon systems of all time. The success of makeshift gunships such as the AC-47 “Spookies” led to the creation of more sophisticated and deadly airborne predators, such as the AC-130 “Spectre”. It was equipped with high-tech sensors and the most powerful weaponry ever assembled in an aircraft.
High technology did not play the major part in Southeast Asia that may have been expected. Rather, it was back to basics, the guerrilla activity of the Viet Cong produced a need for low flying, slow speed, durable aircraft for the Counter-Insurgency or “COIN” role. The American inventory possessed no such weapon until the purpose-designed aircraft, the Bronco, was rushed into service.