Lockheed Martin marks delivery of 500th C-130J Super Hercules

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An HC-130J Super Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft sits on a runway in Waco, Texas, after arriving May 11, 2017, to begin installation of the Minotaur mission system suite. US Coast Guard

ARLINGTON, Va. — The 500th Lockheed Martin-built C-130J Super Hercules aircraft (booth 1001) has been delivered to its customer, the company announced March 15.

The aircraft, Lockheed Martin C-130 build number 5934, is a C-130J-30 version that was delivered to the 130th Airlift Wing, a unit of the West Virginia Air National Guard based at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston , West Virginia . The wing is replacing its old C-130 Hercules aircraft with new C-130J-30s.

The C-130J Super Hercules represents a significant advance in performance, technology and airlift capability over the older C-130 Hercules family of aircraft. The C-130J is equipped with more powerful Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines, GE-Dowty R391 six-blade composite propellers, modern avionics and mission systems. The Super Hercules features dual heads-up displays, an integrated defensive suite, automated maintenance failure reporting and an aft ramp door capable of opening at speeds of up to 250 knots. It has greater speed, lift capacity, rate of climb, cruise altitude, and short-field performance than the older C-130.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. The C-130J first flew in 1996 and entered service in 1999. It is now the airline of choice for 26 operators in 22 countries.

The United States military services operate the largest fleet of C-130J Super Hercules in the world. The US Air Force and Air National Guard collectively operate the C-130J, C-130J-30, AC-130J Ghostrider, EC-130J Commando Solo, HC-130J Combat King II, MC-130J Commando II and WC- 130J Weatherbird variants. The Marine Corps operates the KC-130J tanker version and a C-130J as part of the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team. The Coast Guard operates a version of the HC-130J that is different from the version used by the Air Force for search, rescue and logistics. The US Navy plans to test a version of the C-130J-30 for the Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) strategic communications mission.

Here are some of the 17 different C-130J mission configurations in use around the world for transport (military and commercial), humanitarian aid delivery, aerial firefighting, disaster relief natural disaster, medical evacuation, search and rescue, special operations, fire support, weather reconnaissance, atmospheric research and aerial refueling.

The C-130J-30 is a version of the Super Hercules, which has a stretched fuselage (15 feet or 4.6 meters) compared to the basic C-130J. As such, it can carry 30% more passengers and cargo than the base C-130J and 50% more container delivery systems.

The rugged C-130 family of aircraft has been in serial production longer than any other military aircraft in the US inventory. The first C-130A first flew in 1954 and entered service in 1956. Since the first C-130 rolled off Lockheed Martin’s production line, more than 2,100 have been built before production began. switches to the C-130J. It is flown from over 70 countries and has been certified to support over 100 different mission capabilities in its lifetime.

“No aircraft in history, production, or operation matches the C-130 Hercules in versatility. The C-130J both extends and expands that reputation through increased speed, integration, and power” , said Rob Toth, director of business development for Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility and Maritime Missions business line.

As a retired US Air Force MC-130H Special Operations navigator, Toth has experience flying and commanding operations with legacy and C-130J aircraft.

“The legacy Hercs were great planes. The C-130J offers a more enhanced flight experience, especially with advanced situational awareness and increased power,” he said. “You value these attributes in all mission scenarios, especially with maritime patrol, search and rescue, special operations, and air-to-air refueling requirements supported by the U.S. Marine Corps and Coast Guard.”

To date, the Navy is the only US government operator that does not have a J in its fleet. Currently, the Navy uses C-130s for transport and for 20 years (1963-1993) on TACAMO missions.

Lockheed Martin is honored to have selected the Super Hercules for TACAMO testing — perhaps taking it back to where it all began, Toth said.

“We are working closely with NAVAIR to support an aggressive acquisition strategy that prioritizes both speed of acquisition and affordability to accelerate the recapitalization of one of our nation’s most important capabilities. – durable, reliable and long-lasting communications between the president and the country’s nuclear forces,” Toth adds. “We are proud to be at the heart of this effort and confident that the Super Hercules will provide the critical capability our country needs.”

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