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Calling all Gunship nuts! Plus; Need some advice on Amodel's AC-123K...

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  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by edlmann on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 6:49 PM


A 123 gunship in the P.I.

Not an AC-123 or NC-123.  Note the absence of a radome.

One of the still-held secrets of the war, though.  For a hint, google first flight nha trang


I had thought that, too, but the Nha Trang First Flight C-123s had a donkey d*ck RHAW antenna above the cockpit. This one doesn't. I believe by the time that Ikar shot the photo, the NC-123Ks had lost the nose radome and had been given to the Thais. They kept the special paint scheme that both types shared. I believe that I've seen a better photo where you can see the tail number and demodded nose.

I think I saw this bird on the flight line at Clark ca. Nov - Dec 1973.  I was there for six weeks after we unit-moved to Clark from CCK.  My impression at the time was NOT Blackspot.

I kind of doubt that anyone would have rebuilt the nose of the fuselage to standard C-123 configuration - a lot of work for no apparent reason.  There are AC-123K pics out there with the ball turret removed, but this was a ferrying configuration.

I've seen more than one source saying that the birds were reconfigured to standard configuration and transferred to Thailand.  With the ball turret removed the weather radar would still work and why go to all the work?  When the Fulton Recovery equipment was removed from the Rescue HC-130H/P birds, they left the elongated nose to avoid redoing the airframe.

I've had no reason to doubt the Thailand story, but I did see this in "Praetorian Starship" regarding the MC-130.  On page 163, there's a discussion of using MC-130s off the coast of Korea to track boats landing infiltrators.  It says, in part, "In a message from 314th AD on 15 September 1975, the 1st SOS was asked to begin Commando Talon operations as an interim capability until ROK Air Force FLIR-equipped AC-123 aircraft were modified and made available to perform the mission."

ROKAF AC-123s?  WTF?

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by Diogenes on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 10:35 PM

The C-123B/K did not have a wx radar.  Supposedly, the nose plate, a six inch diameter plate over the nose where a radar would have gone, covered up the ring used to tow it as a glider, the CG-20.  This would not have been too outlandish since it might have been more expensive to engineer it out of the production version than to just keep buying rings and installing them.  Who knows, the engineering may have indicated that the weight and balance might have been affected.

Same concept used on the ROKAF F-5E's and the Combat Skyspot apparatus.  Even though the ground stations were never set up, it was easier to leave the stuff in place.  Go figure.


  • Member since
    April 2009
Posted by gmat on Thursday, September 23, 2010 2:26 AM

The USAF had one or two C-123B/Ks (in camo with no tail codes) stationed in Korea in the early 70s and I think that they were turned over to the Koreans later. The ROKAF also received ex AK ANG C-123Js with the wing tip jet pods. I shot one at McCord in 1977, broke while trying to go to Korea. 

I agree that I doesn't make sense to demod the nose, but the NC-123Ks also didn't stay long in the boneyard. Bob Archer's US Military Aviation: The Air Force says that the two NC-123Ks were transferred to Cambodia and were noted by Sep. 73.

The USCG had a WX radar installed in the noses of their C-123Bs, used to support the LORAN stations in the Western Pacific. It is similar to the radomes added to the USMC C-119s. I believe that one showed up at the boneyard in camo with the TH tail code. It was apparently were used as a support bird with the Reserve F-105 unit at Carswell. Others ex-USCG C-123Bs served with the 302nd TAW, at Rickenbacker and also at Pittsburgh. I would guess that they had the jet pods added when serving with the USAF. 

Best wishes,



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