I wrote back in August 2017 about an exotic spy plane that had been circling above Seattle suburbs for several days. When reporters contacted the US military to ask if the gray plane with USAF-style serial numbers was theirs, they denied any knowledge of the plane or its mission. However, researchers noted that the serial number of the aircraft was one of six serial number sequences commonly associated with the top-secret 427th Special Operations Squadron. Nobody could understand why a spy plane would conduct missions over Seattle and the news soon faded. This week however, another mysterious craft has been spotted in the skies above Seattle – and this time it’s a weaponized AC-130 gunship, the most feared asset in the United States military aircraft inventory.
This week the mysterious plane was documented by a popular military blog as “circling precise areas above Seattle including the airspace of the Seattle International Airport”. According to the report, the aircraft was a brand-new highly modified AC-130 gunship “sporting 30mm and 105mm cannons, advanced sensors and defensive countermeasures, and a variety of missiles and guided bombs”.
The mysterious plane was noticed by amateur aircraft trackers who monitor plane movements via their ADS-B transponders. These transponders provide geographical location, altitude, and speed allowing the spotters to precisely map the plane’s movements. In cases such as this, where the airplane conspicuously moves above the city for a prolonged period of time, spotters take notice and investigate further. The plane was all the more suspicious because of its behavior in the air. Aircraft typically “squawk” their callsign when flying over civilian areas. This plane, however, only announced its callsign briefly and then maintained radio silence. The callsign that was briefly announced – SHADOW99.
Spotters say the AC-130J Ghostrider seems to have taken off from Hurlburt Field in Florida and flown to Seattle with a possible stop in Grand Junction, Colorado for refueling. Once it reached Seattle, it began to track repeated patterns over Seattle, patterns typically flown when gathering reconnaissance. The plane remained airborne over Seattle for several hours. Oddly, some reports hint that the plane may have been gathering reconnaissance on targets *above* the airplane (i.e. space-based intelligence).
It is unknown where the plane traveled to after its strange flight above Seattle.