First flown in combat during the hunt for Dr. Thrax, the Spectre II was the US Navy's ambitious attempt at producing a jet-powered gunship that was faster and lighter than the Air Force's aging AC-130. Adding emphasis on rapid global deployability, the new plane was equipped with variable-sweep wings which made it compact enough to be stored on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. However, the complicated engine and wing setup were prone to mechanical failures. Soon after the war the USAF, now the only branch that was still in any position for technological adventures (due to doctrine changes and the budgetary issues of the branches), came forward with its own idea of a new gunship which was eventually adopted to replace all previous models.
Based on the C-17 Globemaster transport plane, the AC-17 Spectre III was more economical to produce, as it was merely an elaborate re-fit rather than an entirely new air frame. Despite no longer being carrier-capable due to its enormous size, the swing wings were kept and improved, as they allow the plane to perform its approach at breakneck speed. The larger hull carries enough weapons to devastate an entire division of tanks: A massive 155mm howitzer and pair of 25mm Equalizer cannons. In addition, the new Spectre has external hardpoints for several missiles which are rapidly fired at ground and air targets of opportunity by an automatic computer system.
The Spectre is obtained when its associated Rank 5 General's Promotion is unlocked. It is off-map support, flying in when a player activates its support power and selects a location on the map.