C-130J Super Hercules
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: HC-130-J, Hercules II and Super Hercules
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: C-130 Hercules
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
23 August 1954
Family Members: AC-130J Ghostrider
, AC-130U Spooky
, C-130H Hercules
, CC-130J Super Hercules
, EC-130J Commando Solo
, KC-130J Super Hercules
, MC-130H Talon II
, MC-130J Commando II
, MC-130W Combat Spear
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Description: The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules is a medium-size transport aircraft designed to operate from rough dirt strips. The first prototype, the YC-130A, maiden flight took place in 1954. The first model C-130A achieved initial operational capability in December1956 becoming thereafter the most important cargo transport aircraft of the free world. Since then, the C-130s had assumed a wide range of military tasks such as airlift, airdrop, reconnaissance, special operations, close air support, electronic warfare, air refueling, etc. The C-130 features an aft loading ramp and door and is able to accommodate a wide variety of oversized cargo, including everything from utility helicopters and six- to eight-wheeled armored vehicles to standard palletized cargo and military personnel. The Hercules can be configured to carry out different missions and re-configured to its original cargo transport mission.
To date, more than 2,400 C-130s in more than 70 variants to five basic models (A, B , E, H and J) have been produced for customers worldwide. In the first decade of 21st century the majority of C-130s in service belong to the E, H and J basic models introduced in the early 1960s, in the 1970s and late 1990s respectively. The US Air Force, Navy and Marines operate the C-130 aircraft as well as the air forces of 66+ other nations worldwide. The US Air Force plans to convert the surviving E and H models to the C-130AMP (Avionics Modernization Program) configuration beginning in 2007. AMP covers avionics modernization and some engine improvements to keep the fleet flying and serviceable well beyond 2020.
The C-130J Hercules II is the latest and most advanced derivative of the proven C-130 cargo aircraft and will replace ageing C-130Es aircraft. It incorporates state-of-the-art technology to reduce manpower requirements, operating, support, and life cycle costs over current C-130s. The J model also features improved maneuverability and handling, shorter runaways needs for taking off and landing than previous models. The new turboprops AE 2100D3 engines with 6 blades are one of the keys of the C-130J improved performance. The C-130J achieved initial operational capability in 1999. The US Air Force plans to purchase up to 168 C-130J and CC-130J (a stretch version of C-130J) aircraft to replace older C-130Es. The US Coast Guard operates the HC-130J model introduced into service in 2004.
In December 2004, the US Air Force deployed the C-130J aircraft for the first time in support of air mobility operations around the world replacing earlier models. The C-130Js involved in such effort were from Rhode Island Air National Guard's 143rd Airlift Squadron, Maryland ANG's 135th AS, Air Force Reserve's Command's 815th AS at Keesler Air Force Base, Missouri, and California ANG's 115th AS at Channel Islands ANG Station. The Air Force was expected to procure up to 53 C-130Js valued at $6.2 billion as of June 2005.
Lockheed-Martin delivered the last of 22 C-130Js, a CC-130J, ordered by the Italian Air Force on 10 February 2005. Super Hercules deliveries to Italy began in 2000 with first order for 18 aircraft placed in 1997, two more in 1999 and two more in 2000 completing 12 C-130Js and 10 CC-130Js. As of 2005, these aircraft had been involved in tactical transport missions in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Italian Air Force.
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