C-130 Hercules
Overview
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop
Turboprop
A turboprop engine is a type of turbine engine which drives an aircraft propeller using a reduction gear.The gas turbine is designed specifically for this application, with almost all of its output being used to drive the propeller...

 military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in...

 designed and built originally by Lockheed
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

, now Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

. Capable of using unprepared runway
Runway
According to ICAO a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft." Runways may be a man-made surface or a natural surface .- Orientation and dimensions :Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally one tenth...

s for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation
MEDEVAC
Medical evacuation, often termed Medevac or Medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to the wounded being evacuated from the battlefield or to injured patients being evacuated from the scene of an accident to receiving medical facilities using...

, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe
Airframe
The airframe of an aircraft is its mechanical structure. It is typically considered to include fuselage, wings and undercarriage and exclude the propulsion system...

 has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship
Gunship
The term "gunship" is used in several contexts, all sharing the general idea of a light craft armed with heavy guns.-In Navy:In the Navy, the term originally appeared in the mid-19th century as a less-common synonym for gunboat.-In military aviation:...

 (AC-130
Lockheed AC-130
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support...

), for airborne assault, search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting
Aerial firefighting
Aerial firefighting is the use of aircraft and other aerial resources to combat wildfires. The types of aircraft used include fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Smokejumpers and rappellers are also classified as aerial firefighters, delivered to the fire by parachute from a variety of fixed-wing...

.
Encyclopedia
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop
Turboprop
A turboprop engine is a type of turbine engine which drives an aircraft propeller using a reduction gear.The gas turbine is designed specifically for this application, with almost all of its output being used to drive the propeller...

 military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in...

 designed and built originally by Lockheed
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

, now Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

. Capable of using unprepared runway
Runway
According to ICAO a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft." Runways may be a man-made surface or a natural surface .- Orientation and dimensions :Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally one tenth...

s for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation
MEDEVAC
Medical evacuation, often termed Medevac or Medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to the wounded being evacuated from the battlefield or to injured patients being evacuated from the scene of an accident to receiving medical facilities using...

, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe
Airframe
The airframe of an aircraft is its mechanical structure. It is typically considered to include fuselage, wings and undercarriage and exclude the propulsion system...

 has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship
Gunship
The term "gunship" is used in several contexts, all sharing the general idea of a light craft armed with heavy guns.-In Navy:In the Navy, the term originally appeared in the mid-19th century as a less-common synonym for gunboat.-In military aviation:...

 (AC-130
Lockheed AC-130
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support...

), for airborne assault, search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting
Aerial firefighting
Aerial firefighting is the use of aircraft and other aerial resources to combat wildfires. The types of aircraft used include fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Smokejumpers and rappellers are also classified as aerial firefighters, delivered to the fire by parachute from a variety of fixed-wing...

. It is the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 60 nations.

During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in countless military, civilian and humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid
Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crises including natural disaster and man-made disaster. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity...

 operations. The family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft—after the English Electric Canberra
English Electric Canberra
The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 ft in 1957...

, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-95
The Tupolev Tu-95 is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the former Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040...

, and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker—to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

. The C-130 is also the only military aircraft to remain in continuous production for 50 years with its original customer, as the updated C-130J Super Hercules.

Background and requirements

The Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, which began in June 1950, showed that World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

-era piston-engine
Reciprocating engine
A reciprocating engine, also often known as a piston engine, is a heat engine that uses one or more reciprocating pistons to convert pressure into a rotating motion. This article describes the common features of all types...

 transports—Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars, Douglas C-47 Skytrains and Curtiss C-46 Commandos—were inadequate for modern warfare. Thus on 2 February 1951, the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 issued a General Operating Requirement (GOR) for a new transport to Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

, Douglas, Fairchild, Lockheed
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

, Martin
Glenn L. Martin Company
The Glenn L. Martin Company was an American aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company that was founded by the aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin. The Martin Company produced many important aircraft for the defense of the United States and its allies, especially during World War II and the Cold War...

, Chase Aircraft
Chase Aircraft
The Chase Aircraft Company, founded in 1943, was an aircraft manufacturer of the United States of America, primarily constructing gliders and military transport aircraft. Lacking space for expansion, the company was purchased by Henry J. Kaiser in 1951. Plans to produce the C-123 transport for the...

, North American
North American Aviation
North American Aviation was a major US aerospace manufacturer, responsible for a number of historic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang fighter, the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the F-86 Sabre jet fighter, the X-15 rocket plane, and the XB-70, as well as Apollo Command and Service...

, Northrop
Northrop Corporation
Northrop Corporation was a leading United States aircraft manufacturer from its formation in 1939 until its merger with Grumman to form Northrop Grumman in 1994. The company is known for its development of the flying wing design, although only a few of these have entered service.-History:Jack...

, and Airlifts Inc. The new transport would have a capacity for 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or 64 paratroopers in a cargo compartment that is approximately 41 feet (12.5 m) long, 9 feet (2.7 m) high, and 10 feet (3 m) wide. Unlike transports derived from passenger airliners, it was to be designed from the ground-up as a combat transport with loading from a ramp at the rear of the fuselage. This innovation for military cargo aircraft was first pioneered on the WW II German Junkers Ju 252
Junkers Ju 252
-References:* Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. New York:Doubleday, 1972. ISBN 0-385-05782-2.-External links:* *...

 and Ju 253 "Hercules" transport prototypes in World War II. The Boeing C-97 also had a retracting ramp through clamshell doors, but could not be used for airdrops of cargo.

The Hercules also resembled a larger four-engine brother to the C-123 Provider with a similar wing and cargo ramp layout, that evolved from the Chase XCG-20 Avitruc, in turn, first designed and flown as a cargo glider in 1947. The rear ramp not only makes it possible to drive vehicles onto the plane (also possible with forward ramp on a C-124), but to airdrop or use low-altitude extraction for Sheridan tanks
M551 Sheridan
The M551 Sheridan was a light tank developed by the United States and named after Civil War General Philip Sheridan. It was designed to be landed by parachute and to swim across rivers. It was armed with the technically advanced but troublesome M81/M81E1 152mm gun/launcher which fired conventional...

 or even dropping improvised "daisy cutter
BLU-82
The BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, known under program "Commando Vault" and nicknamed "daisy cutter" in Vietnam and in Afghanistan for its ability to flatten a forest into a helicopter landing zone, is a 15,000 pound conventional bomb, delivered from either a C-130 or an MC-130 transport aircraft....

" bombs.

A key feature was the introduction of the T56 turboprop
Turboprop
A turboprop engine is a type of turbine engine which drives an aircraft propeller using a reduction gear.The gas turbine is designed specifically for this application, with almost all of its output being used to drive the propeller...

, first developed specifically for the C-130. At the time, the turboprop was a new application of turbine engines that used exhaust gases to turn a shafted propeller, which offered greater range at propeller-driven speeds compared to pure turbojets, which were faster but thirstier. As was the case on helicopters of that era such as the UH-1 Huey, turboshaft
Turboshaft
A turboshaft engine is a form of gas turbine which is optimized to produce free turbine shaft power, rather than jet thrust...

s produced much more power for their weight than piston engines. Lockheed would subsequently use the same engines and technology in the Lockheed L-188 Electra
Lockheed L-188 Electra
The Lockheed Model 188 Electra is an American turboprop airliner built by Lockheed. First flying in 1957, it was the first large turboprop airliner produced in the United States. Initial sales were good, but after two fatal crashes which prompted an expensive modification program to fix a design...

. That aircraft failed financially in its civilian configuration but was successfully adapted into the Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol and submarine attack aircraft where speed and endurance of turboprops excelled.

The new Lockheed cargo plane design possessed a range of 1100 nmi (1,265.9 mi; 2,037.2 km), takeoff capability from short and unprepared strips, and the ability to fly with one engine shut down. Fairchild, North American, Martin and Northrop declined to participate. The remaining five companies tendered a total of 10 designs: Lockheed two, Boeing one, Chase three, Douglas three, and Airlifts Inc. one. The contest was a close affair between the lighter of the two Lockheed (preliminary project designation L-206) proposals and a four-turboprop Douglas design.

The Lockheed design team was led by Willis Hawkins
Willis Hawkins
Willis M. Hawkins was an aeronautical engineer for Lockheed for more than fifty years. He was hired to the company in 1937, immediately after receiving his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan...

, starting with a 130 page proposal for the Lockheed L-206. Hall Hibbard
Hall Hibbard
Hall Livingstone Hibbard was an engineer and administrator of the Lockheed Corporation beginning with the company's purchase by a board of investors led by Robert E. Gross in 1932. Born in Kansas, he received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics at the College of Emporia in 1925...

, Lockheed vice president and chief engineer, saw the proposal and directed it to Kelly Johnson, who did not care for the low-speed, unarmed aircraft, and remarked, "If you sign that letter, you will destroy the Lockheed Company." Both Hibbard and Johnson signed the proposal and the company won the contract for the now-designated Model 82 on 2 July 1951.

The first flight of the YC-130 prototype
Prototype
A prototype is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.The word prototype derives from the Greek πρωτότυπον , "primitive form", neutral of πρωτότυπος , "original, primitive", from πρῶτος , "first" and τύπος ,...

 was made on 23 August 1954 from the Lockheed
Lockheed Corporation
The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

 plant in Burbank
Burbank, California
Burbank is a city in Los Angeles County in Southern California, United States, north of downtown Los Angeles. The estimated population in 2010 was 103,340....

, California. The aircraft, serial number
United States military aircraft serials
In the United States, all military aircraft display a serial number to identify individual aircraft. Because these numbers are located on the aircraft tail, they are sometimes referred to unofficially as "tail numbers"...

 53-3397, was the second prototype but the first of the two to fly. The YC-130 was piloted by Stanley Beltz and Roy Wimmer on its 61-minute flight to Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base
Edwards Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located on the border of Kern County, Los Angeles County, and San Bernardino County, California, in the Antelope Valley. It is southwest of the central business district of North Edwards, California and due east of Rosamond.It is named in...

; Jack Real
Jack Real
Jack G. Real was an aerospace pioneer and Howard Hughes confidant.-Career at Lockheed:After graduating from Calumet High School in Calumet, Michigan he quickly moved on to attend Michigan Technological University, graduating in 1937. Real moved to California in 1939 and went to work for Lockheed...

 and Dick Stanton served as flight engineers. Kelly Johnson flew chase in a P2V Neptune.

Production

After the two prototypes were completed, production began in Marietta
Marietta, Georgia
Marietta is a city located in central Cobb County, Georgia, United States, and is its county seat.As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 56,579, making it one of metro Atlanta's largest suburbs...

, Georgia, where over 2,300 C-130s have been built through 2009.

The initial production model, the C-130A, was powered by Allison T56-A-9 turboprops with three-blade propeller
Propeller (aircraft)
Aircraft propellers or airscrews convert rotary motion from piston engines or turboprops to provide propulsive force. They may be fixed or variable pitch. Early aircraft propellers were carved by hand from solid or laminated wood with later propellers being constructed from metal...

s. Deliveries began in December 1956, continuing until the introduction of the C-130B model in 1959. Some A models were re-designated C-130D after being equipped with ski
Ski
A ski is a long, flat device worn on the foot, usually attached through a boot, designed to help the wearer slide smoothly over snow. Originally intended as an aid to travel in snowy regions, they are now mainly used for recreational and sporting purposes...

s. The newer C-130B had aileron
Aileron
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector...

s with increased boost—3,000 psi
Pounds per square inch
The pound per square inch or, more accurately, pound-force per square inch is a unit of pressure or of stress based on avoirdupois units...

 (21 MPa) versus 2,050 psi (14 MPa)—as well as uprated engines and four-bladed propellers that were standard until the J-model's introduction.

C-130A model

The first production C-130s were designated as A-models, with deliveries in 1956 to the 463d Troop Carrier Wing at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma and the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Six additional squadrons were assigned to the 322d Air Division in Europe and the 315th Air Division
315th Air Division
The 315th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Pacific Air Forces, based at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. It was inactivated in April 1969.-History:...

 in the Far East. Additional aircraft were modified for electronics intelligence work and assigned to Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base
Rhein-Main Air Base was a U.S. Air Force / NATO military airbase near the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It occupied the south side of Frankfurt International Airport. Its airport codes are discontinued....

, Germany while modified RC-130As were assigned to the Military Air Transport Service
Military Air Transport Service
The Military Air Transport Service is an inactive Department of Defense Unified Command. Activated on 1 June 1948, MATS was a consolidation of the United States Navy Naval Air Transport Service and the United States Air Force Air Transport Command into a single, joint, unified command...

 (MATS) photo-mapping division. Aircraft equipped with giant skis were designated as C-130Ds, but were essentially A-models except for the conversion. Australia became the first non American force to operate the C130A Hercules with 12 examples being delivered during late 1958-early 1959. These aircraft were fitted with three-blade AeroProducts propeller of 15' diameter. As the C-130A became operational with Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command
Tactical Air Command is an inactive United States Air Force organization. It was a Major Command of the United States Air Force, established on 21 March 1946 being headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia...

 (TAC), the C-130's lack of range became apparent and additional fuel capacity was added in the form of external pylon-mounted tanks at the end of the wings. The A-model continued in service through the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, where the aircraft assigned to the four squadrons at Naha AB, Okinawa and one at Tachikawa Air Base
Tachikawa Airfield
is an airfield in the city of Tachikawa, the western part of Tokyo, Japan. Currently under the administration of the Ministry of Defense, it has also served as the civil aviation with Japan's first scheduled air service.-Operations:...

, Japan performed yeoman's service, including operating highly classified special operations missions such as the BLIND BAT FAC/Flare mission and FACT SHEET leaflet mission over Laos and North Vietnam. The A-model was also provided to the South Vietnamese Air Force as part of the Vietnamization program at the end of the war, and equipped three squadrons based at Tan Son Nhut AFB. The last operator in the world is the Honduran Air Force, which is still flying one of five A model Hercules (FAH 558, c/n 3042) as of October 2009.

C-130B model

The C-130B model was developed to complement the A models that had previously been delivered, and incorporated new features, particularly increased fuel capacity in the form of auxiliary tanks built into the center wing section and an AC electrical system. Four-bladed Hamilton Standard propellers replaced the Aero Product three-bladed propellers that distinguished the earlier A-models. B-models replaced A-models in the 314th and 463rd Troop Carrier Wings. During the Vietnam War four squadrons assigned to the 463rd Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Wing based at Clark Air Force Base and Mactan Air Force Base in the Philippines were used primarily for tactical airlift operations in South Vietnam. In the spring of 1969, 463rd crews commenced COMMANDO VAULT bombing missions dropping "daisy cutter" M-121 10,000 lb (4,534 kg) bombs to clear "instant LZs" for helicopters. These would later be used by South Vietnam forces in a last-ditch air support effort to turn back communist troops. As the Vietnam War wound down, the 463rd B-models and A-models of the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing were transferred back to the United States where most were assigned to Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard
Air National Guard
The Air National Guard , often referred to as the Air Guard, is the air force militia organized by each of the fifty U.S. states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Established under Title 10 and...

 units. Another prominent role for the B model was with the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, where Hercules initially designated as GV-1s replaced C-119s. After Air Force C-130Ds proved the type's usefulness in Antarctica, the US Navy purchased a number of B-models equipped with skis that were designated as LC-130s. The Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

 became another early user of the C130 with the delivery of its first B model in 1960.

An electronic reconnaissance variant of the C-130B was designated C-130B-II. A total of 13 aircraft were converted and operated under the SUN VALLEY program name. They were operated primarily from Yokota Air Base, Japan. All reverted to standard C-130B cargo aircraft after their replacement in the reconnaissance role by other aircraft. The C-130B-II was distinguished by its false external wing fuel tanks, which were disguised signals intelligence (SIGINT) receiver antennas. These pods were slightly larger than the standard wing tanks found on other C-130Bs. Most aircraft featured a swept blade antenna on the upper fuselage, as well as extra wire antennas between the vertical fin and upper fuselage not found on other C-130s. Radio call numbers on the tail of these aircraft were regularly changed so as to confuse observers and disguise their true mission.

C-130E model

The extended range C-130E model entered service in 1962 after it was developed as an interim long-range transport for the Military Air Transport Service. Essentially a B-model, the new designation was the result of the installation of 1,360 US gal
Gallon
The gallon is a measure of volume. Historically it has had many different definitions, but there are three definitions in current use: the imperial gallon which is used in the United Kingdom and semi-officially within Canada, the United States liquid gallon and the lesser used United States dry...

 (5,150 L) Sargent Fletcher external fuel tanks under each wing's mid-section and more powerful Allison
Allison Engine Company
The Allison Engine Company was a U.S. aircraft engine manufacturer. In 1929, shortly after the death of James Allison, the company was purchased by the Fisher brothers. Fisher sold the company to General Motors, who owned it for most of its history...

 T56-A-7A turboprops. The hydraulic boost pressure to the ailerons was reduced back to 2050 psi as a consequence of the external tanks' weight in the middle of the wingspan. The E model also featured structural improvements, avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

 upgrades and a higher gross weight. Australia took delivery of 12 C130E Hercules during 1966–67 to supplement the 12 C-130A models already in service with the RAAF. Sweden and Spain fly the TP-84T version of the C-130E fitted for aerial refueling capability.

C-130F / KC-130F / C-130G models

The KC-130 tankers, originally C-130Fs procured for the US Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 (USMC) in 1958 (under the designation GV-1) are equipped with a removable 3,600 US gal (13,626 l) stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

 fuel tank
Fuel tank
A fuel tank is safe container for flammable fluids. Though any storage tank for fuel may be so called, the term is typically applied to part of an engine system in which the fuel is stored and propelled or released into an engine...

 carried inside the cargo compartment. The two wing-mounted hose and drogue aerial refueling pods each transfer up to 300 US gal per minute (19 l per second) to two aircraft simultaneously, allowing for rapid cycle times of multiple-receiver aircraft formations, (a typical tanker formation of four aircraft in less than 30 minutes). The US Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

's C-130G has increased structural strength allowing higher gross weight operation.

C-130H model

The C-130H model has updated Allison T56-A-15 turboprops, a redesigned outer wing
Wing
A wing is an appendage with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid...

, updated avionics and other minor improvements. Later H models had a new, fatigue-life-improved, center wing that was retro-fitted to many earlier H-models. The H model remains in widespread use with the US Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 (USAF) and many foreign air forces. Initial deliveries began in 1964 (to the RNZAF
Royal New Zealand Air Force
The Royal New Zealand Air Force is the air arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

), remaining in production until 1996. An improved C-130H was introduced in 1974, with Australia purchasing 12 of type in 1978 to replace the original 12 C-130A models which had first entered RAAF Service in 1958.

The United States Coast Guard employs the HC-130H for long range search and rescue, drug interdiction, illegal migrant patrols, homeland security, and logistics.

C-130H models produced from 1992 to 1996 were designated as C-130H3 by the USAF. The 3 denoting the third variation in design for the H series. Improvements included ring laser gyros for the INUs, GPS receivers, a partial glass cockpit
Glass cockpit
A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, as opposed to the traditional style of analog dials and gauges...

 (ADI and HSI instruments), a more capable APN-241 color radar, night vision device compatible instrument lighting, and an integrated radar and missile warning system. The electrical system upgrade included Generator Control Units (GCU) and Bus Switching units (BSU)to provide stable power to the more sensitive upgraded components.

C-130K model

The equivalent model for export to the UK is the C-130K, known by the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF) as the Hercules C.1. The C-130H-30 (Hercules C.3 in RAF service) is a stretched version of the original Hercules, achieved by inserting a 100 in (2.54 m) plug aft of the cockpit and an 80 in (2.03 m) plug at the rear of the fuselage. A single C-130K was purchased by the Met Office
Met Office
The Met Office , is the United Kingdom's national weather service, and a trading fund of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills...

 for use by its Meteorological Research Flight, where it was classified as the Hercules W.2. This aircraft was heavily modified (with its most prominent feature being the long red and white striped atmospheric probe on the nose and the move of the weather radar into a pod above the forward fuselage). This aircraft, named Snoopy
Snoopy
Snoopy is an fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly conventional dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip's most dynamic character—and among the most recognizable...

, was withdrawn in 2001 and was then modified by Marshall of Cambridge Aerospace
Marshall Aerospace
The Marshall companies have been internationally associated with aerospace engineering for nearly a century. The company employs over 1,800 people and is based on an site with of covered hangar space...

 as flight-test bed for the A400M turbine engine, the TP400. The C-130K is used by the RAF Falcons
RAF Falcons
The RAF Falcons are recognised as the UK's premier military parachute display team. They perform their unique and colourful aerial display at numerous venues nationwide and are renowned for their famous 11-person non-contact canopy stack display routine....

 for parachute drops. Three C-130K (Hercules C Mk.1P) were upgraded and sold to the Austrian Air Force in 2002.

Later C-130 models

The MC-130E Combat Talon was developed for the USAF during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 to support special operations
Special operations
Special operations are military operations that are considered "special" .Special operations are typically performed independently or in conjunction with conventional military operations. The primary goal is to achieve a political or military objective where a conventional force requirement does...

 missions throughout Southeast Asia, and spawned a family of special missions aircraft. 37 of the earliest models currently operating with the United States Special Operations Command
United States Special Operations Command
The United States Special Operations Command is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense...

 are scheduled to be replaced by new-production MC-130J versions. The EC-130
Lockheed EC-130
The Lockheed Martin EC-130 series comprises several slightly different versions of the C-130 that have been and continue to be operated by the U.S. Air Force and, until the 1990s, the U.S...

 and EC-130H Compass Call
EC-130H Compass Call
-See also:- External links :* * * * * *...

 versions are also Special variants but are assigned to Air Combat Command (ACC). The AC-130 gunship
Lockheed AC-130
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support...

 was first developed during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 to provide close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 and other ground-attack duties.

The HC-130 is a family of long-range search and rescue variants used by the USAF and the US Coast Guard. Equipped for deep deployment of Pararescuemen
Air Force Pararescue
Pararescuemen are United States Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command operatives tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments...

 (PJs), survival equipment, and aerial refueling of combat rescue helicopters, HC-130s are usually the on-scene command aircraft for combat SAR missions. Early versions were equipped with the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system
Fulton surface-to-air recovery system
The Fulton surface-to-air recovery system is a system used by the CIA, United States Air Force and United States Navy for retrieving persons on the ground from an MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft. It involves using an overall-type harness and a self-inflating balloon which carries an attached lift...

, designed to pull a person off the ground using a wire strung from a helium balloon. The John Wayne movie The Green Berets
The Green Berets (film)
The Green Berets is a 1968 war film featuring John Wayne, George Takei, David Janssen, Jim Hutton and Aldo Ray, nominally based on the eponymous 1965 book by Robin Moore, though the screenplay has little relation to the book....

features its use. The Fulton system was later removed when aerial refueling of helicopters proved safer and more versatile. The movie The Perfect Storm
The Perfect Storm (film)
The Perfect Storm is a 2000 dramatic disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is an adaptation of the 1997 non-fiction book of the same title by Sebastian Junger about the crew of the Andrea Gail that got caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991. The film stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg,...

depicts a real life SAR mission involving aerial refueling of a New York Air National Guard
New York Air National Guard
The New York Air National Guard is the air force militia of the U.S. state of New York. It is, along with the New York Army National Guard, an element of the New York National Guard. It is considered a part of the United States Air Force, as well as its state mission...

 HH-60G
HH-60 Pave Hawk
The Sikorsky MH-60G/HH-60G Pave Hawk is a twin turboshaft engine helicopter in service with the United States Air Force. It is a derivative of the UH-60 Black Hawk and incorporates the US Air Force PAVE electronic systems program...

 by a New York Air National Guard HC-130P.

The C-130R and C-130T are US Navy and USMC models, both equipped with underwing external fuel tanks. The USN C-130T is similar, but has additional avionics improvements. In both models, aircraft are equipped with Allison T56-A-16 engines. The USMC versions are designated KC-130R or KC-130T when equipped with underwing refueling pods and pylons and are fully night vision system compatible.

The RC-130 is a reconnaissance
Surveillance aircraft
A surveillance aircraft is an aircraft used for surveillance — collecting information over time. They are operated by military forces and other government agencies in roles such as intelligence gathering, battlefield surveillance, airspace surveillance, observation , border patrol and fishery...

 version. A single example is used by the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force
The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force ' is the aviation branch of the Iranian armed forces. The present Air Force came into being in the early 1980s when the former Imperial Iranian Air Force was renamed....

, the aircraft having originally been sold to the former Imperial Iranian Air Force.

The Lockheed L-100 (L-382) is a civilian variant, equivalent to a C-130E model without military equipment. The L-100 also has two stretched versions.

Next generation

In the 1970s, Lockheed proposed a C-130 variant with turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

 engines rather than turboprops, but the US Air Force preferred the takeoff performance of the existing aircraft. In the 1980s, the C-130 was intended to be replaced by the Advanced Medium STOL Transport
Advanced Medium STOL Transport
The Advanced Medium STOL Transport project was intended to replace the Lockheed C-130 Hercules tactical transport in United States Air Force service with a new aircraft with improved STOL performance...

 project. The project was canceled and the C-130 has remained in production.

In the 1990s, the improved C-130J Super Hercules
C-130J Super Hercules
The Lockheed Martin C-130J "Super" Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any...

 was developed by Lockheed (later Lockheed Martin). This model is the newest version and the only model in production. Externally similar to the classic Hercules in general appearance, the J model has new turboprop engines, six-bladed propellers, digital avionics, and other new systems.

Improvements and upgrades

In 2000, Boeing was awarded a contract to develop an Avionics Modernization Programme kit for the C-130. The program was beset with delays and cost overruns until project restructuring in 2007. On 2 September 2009, Bloomberg news reported that the planned Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) upgrade to the older C-130s would be dropped to provide more funds for the F-35, CV-22 and airborne tanker replacement programs. However, in June 2010, the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 approved funding for the initial production of the AMP upgrade kits. Under the terms of this agreement, the USAF has cleared Boeing to begin low-rate initial production (LRIP) for the C-130 AMP. A total of 198 aircraft are expected to feature the AMP upgrade. The current cost per aircraft is although Boeing expects that this price will drop to US$7 million for the 69th aircraft.

Operational history

The Hercules holds the record for the largest and heaviest aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

. In October and November 1963, a USMC KC-130F (BuNo 149798), loaned to the US Naval Air Test Center, made 29 touch-and-go landings, 21 unarrested
Arresting gear
Arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is the name used for mechanical systems designed to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Arresting gear on aircraft carriers is an essential component of naval aviation, and it is most commonly used on CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Similar systems...

 full-stop landings and 21 unassisted take-offs on the USS Forrestal
USS Forrestal (CVA-59)
The USS Forrestal , formerly AVT-59 and CVA-59, is a supercarrier that was named after former Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and was the lead ship of her class of aircraft carriers. The other carriers of her class were the , and...

 at a number of different weights. The pilot, LT (later RADM
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

) James H. Flatley III
James H. Flatley III
James H. Flatley III was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy. A Naval Aviator, fighter pilot and test pilot, he is the son of Vice Admiral James H...

, USN, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Flying Cross is a medal awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918." The...

 for his role in this test series. The tests were highly successful, but the idea was considered too risky for routine "Carrier Onboard Delivery
Carrier onboard delivery
Carrier Onboard Delivery is a military term used to describe type of aircraft which are able to ferry personnel, mail, and high-priority cargo on and off a naval ship .-History:...

" (COD) operations. Instead, the C-2 Greyhound was developed as a dedicated COD aircraft. The Hercules used in the test, most recently in service with Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 352 (VMGR-352
VMGR-352
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 , 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

) until 2005, is now part of the collection of the National Museum of Naval Aviation
National Museum of Naval Aviation
The National Museum of Naval Aviation is a military and aerospace museum located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. The museum opened in 1962....

 at NAS Pensacola, Florida.
In 1958, a US reconnaissance C-130A-II was shot down over Armenia by MiG-17s
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 is a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952 and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. Most MiG-17 variants cannot carry air-to-air missiles, but shot down many aircraft with its cannons...

.

While the C-130 is involved in cargo and resupply operations daily, it has been a part of some notable offensive operations.

In 1964 C-130 crews from the 6315th Operations Group at Naha AB, Okinawa commenced FAC/Flare missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Ho Chi Minh trail
The Ho Chi Minh trail was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia...

 in Laos supporting USAF strike aircraft. In April 1965 the mission was expanded to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 where C-130 crews led formations of B-57 bombers on night reconnaissance/strike missions against communist supply routes leading to South Vietnam. In early 1966 Project BLIND BAT/LAMPLIGHTER was established at Ubon RTAFB, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

. After the move to Ubon the mission became a four-engine forward air controller (FAC) mission with the C-130 crew searching for targets then calling in strike aircraft. Another little-known C-130 mission flown by Naha-based crews was COMMANDO SCARF, which involved the delivery of chemicals onto sections of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos that were designed to produce mud and landslides in hopes of making the truck routes impassable.

In November 1964, on the other side of the globe, C-130Es from the 464th Troop Carrier Wing but loaned to 322d Air Division in France, flew one of the most dramatic missions in history in the former Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
The Belgian Congo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo between King Leopold II's formal relinquishment of his personal control over the state to Belgium on 15 November 1908, and Congolese independence on 30 June 1960.-Congo Free State, 1884–1908:Until the latter...

. After a Congolese rebel group named "Simba" took white residents of the city of Stanleyville hostage, the US and Belgian developed a joint rescue mission
Simba Rebellion
The Simba Rebellion was a 1964 rebellion in the former Republic of the Congo which began as a result of alleged abuses by the Congolese central government...

 that used the C-130s to airlift and then drop and air-land a force of Belgian paratroopers to rescue the hostages. Two missions were flown, one over Stanleyville and another over Paulis during Thanksgiving weeks. The headline-making mission resulted in the first award of the prestigious MacKay Trophy
MacKay trophy
The Mackay Trophy was established on 27 January 1911 by Clarence Hungerford Mackay, who was then head of the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company and the Commercial Cable Company. Originally, aviators could compete for the trophy annually under rules made each year or the War Department could award the...

 to C-130 crews.

In October 1968 a C-130B from the 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing dropped a pair of M121 10,000 pound bombs that had been developed for the massive B-36 bomber but had never been used. The US Army and US Air Force resurrected the huge weapons as a means of clearing landing zones for helicopters and in early 1969 the 463rd commenced Commando Vault
BLU-82
The BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, known under program "Commando Vault" and nicknamed "daisy cutter" in Vietnam and in Afghanistan for its ability to flatten a forest into a helicopter landing zone, is a 15,000 pound conventional bomb, delivered from either a C-130 or an MC-130 transport aircraft....

 missions. Although the stated purpose of COMMANDO VAULT was to clear LZs, they were also used on enemy base camps and other targets.

After the People's Republic of China conducted its third nuclear test on 9 May 1966, the US was eager to get information on the Chinese capabilities. After the failure of the Black Cat Squadron
Black Cat Squadron
The Black Cat Squadron was a squadron of the Republic of China Air Force that flew the U-2 surveillance plane out of Taoyuan Airbase in northern Taiwan, from 1961 to 1974. The formal designation of the squadron was the 35th Squadron, operating under the cover of a high altitude weather research...

 to plant operating sensor pods near the Lop Nur
Lop Nur
Lop Lake or Lop Nur is a group of small, now seasonal salt lake sand marshes between the Taklamakan and Kuruktag deserts in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, southeastern portion of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China.The lake system into which the Tarim...

 Nuclear Weapons Test Base using a Lockheed U-2
Lockheed U-2
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

, the CIA developed a plan, named Heavy Tea, to deploy two battery-powered sensor pallets near the base. To deploy the pallets, a Black Bat Squadron
Black Bat Squadron
Black Bats 34th Squadron was the name of a corps of CIA reconnaissance plane pilots and crew based in Taiwan during the Cold War. Citizens of the Republic of China, they flew missions over mainland China, or the People's Republic of China , to drop agents and gathered military signal intelligences...

 crew was trained in the US to fly the C-130 Hercules. The crew of 12, led by Col Sun Pei Zhen, took off from Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base
Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base
Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base is a Royal Thai Air Force facility. It is located in Central Thailand, approximately 144 miles northwest of Bangkok in Takhli district, Nakhon Sawan Province, near the city of Nakhon Sawan.- Units :...

 in an unmarked US Air Force C-130E on 17 May 1969. Flying for six and a half hours at low altitude in the dark, they arrived over the target and the sensor pallets were dropped by parachute near Anxi in Gansu province. After another six and a half hours of low altitude flight, they arrived back at Takhli. The sensors worked and uploaded data to a US intelligence satellite for six months, before their batteries wore out. The Chinese conducted two nuclear tests, on 22 September 1969 and 29 September 1969, during the operating life of the sensor pallets. Another mission to the area was planned as operation Golden Whip, but was called off in 1970.

The MC-130 Combat Talon
MC-130 Combat Talon
The Lockheed MC-130 is the basic designation for a family of special mission aircraft operated by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command , a wing of the Air Education and Training Command, and an AFSOC-gained wing of the Air Force Reserve Command...

 variant carries and deploys the among the largest conventional bomb
Bomb
A bomb is any of a range of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy...

s in the world, the BLU-82
BLU-82
The BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, known under program "Commando Vault" and nicknamed "daisy cutter" in Vietnam and in Afghanistan for its ability to flatten a forest into a helicopter landing zone, is a 15,000 pound conventional bomb, delivered from either a C-130 or an MC-130 transport aircraft....

 "Daisy Cutter" and GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, also known as the MOAB. Daisy Cutters were used during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 to clear landing zones and to eliminate mine fields
Land mine
A land mine is usually a weight-triggered explosive device which is intended to damage a target—either human or inanimate—by means of a blast and/or fragment impact....

. The weight and size of the weapons make it impossible or impractical to load them on conventional bombers. The GBU-43/B MOAB is a successor to the BLU-82 and can perform the same function, as well as perform strike functions against hardened targets in a low air threat environment.

The AC-130 also holds the record for the longest sustained flight by a C-130. From 22 to 24 October 1997, two AC-130U gunships flew 36.0 hours nonstop from Hurlburt Field Florida to Taegu (Daegu), South Korea while being refueled 7 times by KC-135 tanker aircraft. This record flight shattered the previous record longest flight by over 10 hours while the 2 gunships took on 410000 lb (185,972.9 kg) of fuel. The gunship has been used in every major U.S. combat operation since Vietnam, except for Operation El Dorado Canyon
Operation El Dorado Canyon
The 1986 United States bombing of Libya, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, comprised the joint United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air-strikes against Libya on April 15, 1986. The attack was carried out in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.-Origins:Shortly after his...

, the 1986 attack on Libya.

In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. This conflict became known as the Second Kashmir War fought by India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947...

, the Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

 modified/improvised several aircraft for use as heavy bombers, and attacks were made on Indian bridges and troop concentrations with some successes. No aircraft were lost in the operations, though one was slightly damaged.

It was also used in the 1976 Entebbe raid
Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Special Forces of the Israel Defense Forces at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and...

 in which Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i commando
Commando
In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and...

 forces carried a surprise assault to rescue 103 passengers of an airliner hijacked by Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 and German terrorists at Entebbe Airport, Uganda. The rescue force—200 soldiers, jeeps, and a black Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 (intended to resemble Ugandan Dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

 Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

's vehicle of state)—was flown 2200 nmi (2,532 mi; 4,074 km) from Israel to Entebbe by four Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 (IAF) Hercules aircraft without mid-air refueling (on the way back, the planes refueled in Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

, Kenya).

During the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

  of 1982, Argentine Air Force
Argentine Air Force
The Argentine Air Force is the national aviation branch of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic. , it had 14,606 military and 6,854 civilian staff.-History:...

 C-130s undertook highly dangerous, daily re-supply night flights as blockade runners to the Argentine garrison on the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

. They also performed daylight maritime survey flights. One was lost
Nigel Ward
Commander Nigel "Sharkey" Ward DSC, AFC, RN commanded 801 Naval Air Squadron from HMS Invincible during the Falklands War, of April to June 1982, and was the senior Sea Harrier adviser to the Command on the tactics, direction and progress of the air war....

 during the war. Argentina also operated two KC-130 tankers
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 during the war, and these refueled both the A-4 Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

s and Navy Dassault-Breguet Super Étendards. The British also used RAF C-130s to support their logistical operations.

During the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 of 1991 (Operation Desert Storm), the C-130 Hercules was used operationally by the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps, along with the air forces of Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the UK.

Recent history

During the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and the ongoing support of the International Security Assistance Force
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 (Operation Enduring Freedom), the C-130 Hercules has been used operationally by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, the UK and the United States.

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 (Operation Iraqi Freedom), the C-130 Hercules has been used operationally by Australia, the UK and the United States. After the initial invasion, C-130 operators as part of the Multinational force in Iraq
Multinational force in Iraq
The Multi-National Force – Iraq was a military command, led by the United States, which was responsible for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Multi-National Force – Iraq replaced the previous force, Combined Joint Task Force 7, on 15 May 2004, and was later itself reorganized into its successor, United...

 used their C-130s to support their forces in Iraq.

One RAF C-130 was shot down on 30 January 2005, when an Iraqi insurgent brought it down firing with a ZU-23 anti-aircraft artillery gun while the plane was flying at 164 ft (50 m) after it had dropped SAS
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 special forces paratroopers.

A prominent C-130T aircraft named Fat Albert serves as the support aircraft for the US Navy Blue Angels
Blue Angels
The United States Navy's Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, was formed in 1946 and is currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team...

 flight demonstration team. Although Fat Albert supports a Navy squadron, it is operated by the US Marine Corps (USMC) and its crew consists solely of USMC personnel. At some air shows
Air show
An air show is an event at which aviators display their flying skills and the capabilities of their aircraft to spectators in aerobatics. Air shows without aerobatic displays, having only aircraft displayed parked on the ground, are called "static air shows"....

 featuring the team, Fat Albert takes part, performing flyovers and sometimes demonstrating its jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) capabilities, but the JATO demonstration ended in 2009 due to dwindling supplies of rockets.

On 20 November 2011, the Australian government announced plans to donate four ex-RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft to Indonesia for humanitarian and disaster relief work. The Hercules aircraft require an estimated AUD$25 million in maintenance to restore them to airworthiness

Civilian use

The U.S. Forest Service developed the Modular Airborne FireFighting System
Modular Airborne FireFighting System
The Modular Airborne FireFighting System or MAFFS is a self-contained unit used for aerial firefighting that can be loaded onto a C-130 Hercules, a military cargo transport, which then allows the aircraft to be used as an air tanker against wildfires. This allows the U.S...

 for the C-130 in the 1970s, which allows regular aircraft to be temporarily converted to an airtanker for fighting wildfire
Wildfire
A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Other names such as brush fire, bushfire, forest fire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, squirrel fire, vegetation fire, veldfire, and wilkjjofire may be used to describe the same...

s. In the late 1980s, 22 retired USAF C-130As were removed from storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Davis–Monthan Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located within the city limits, and approximately south-southeast of downtown, Tucson, Arizona....

 and transferred to the U.S. Forest Service who then sold them to six private companies to be converted into air tankers (see U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal
U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal
The U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal involved a scheme, called the Historical Aircraft Exchange Program, in which the agency would acquire retired U.S. Air Force C-130A transport aircraft and U.S...

). After one of these aircraft crashed due to wing separation in flight as a result of fatigue stress cracking, the entire fleet of C-130A air tankers was permanently grounded in 2004 (see 2002 airtanker crashes
2002 airtanker crashes
In 2002, two large airtankers – a C-130 Hercules and a PB4Y-2 Privateer – crashed about a month apart while performing aerial firefighting operations. These crashes prompted a review of the maintenance and use of the entire U.S. large airtanker fleet. Ultimately, the whole fleet was...

). C-130s have been used to spread chemical dispersants onto the massive oil slick in the Gulf Coast in 2010.

Variants

Significant military variants of the C-130 include:
C-130A/B/E/F/G/H/K/T
Tactical airlifter basic models

C-130J Super Hercules
C-130J Super Hercules
The Lockheed Martin C-130J "Super" Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the venerable Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any...

Tactical airlifter, with new engines, avionics, and updated systems

C-130K
Designation for RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 Hercules C1/W2/C3 aircraft (C-130Js in RAF service are the Hercules C.4 and Hercules C.5)

AC-130A/E/H/U Spectre/Spooky
Lockheed AC-130
The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a heavily-armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane. The basic airframe is manufactured by Lockheed, while Boeing is responsible for the conversion into a gunship and for aircraft support...

Gunship variants

C-130D/D-6
Ski-equipped version for snow and ice operations United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 / Air National Guard

CC-130E/H/J Hercules
Designation for Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

 Hercules aircraft

DC-130A/E
Drone control

EC-130
Lockheed EC-130
The Lockheed Martin EC-130 series comprises several slightly different versions of the C-130 that have been and continue to be operated by the U.S. Air Force and, until the 1990s, the U.S...

EC-130E/J Commando Solo
Lockheed EC-130
The Lockheed Martin EC-130 series comprises several slightly different versions of the C-130 that have been and continue to be operated by the U.S. Air Force and, until the 1990s, the U.S...

– USAF / Air National Guard psychological operations version
EC-130E – Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC)
EC-130E Rivet Rider – Airborne psychological warfare aircraft
EC-130H Compass Call
EC-130H Compass Call
-See also:- External links :* * * * * *...

Electronic warfare
Electronic warfare
Electronic warfare refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly...

 and electronic attack.
EC-130V – Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) variant used by USCG for counter-narcotics missions

GC-130
Permanently Grounded "Static Display"

HC-130
HC-130B/E/H – Early model combat search and rescue
Combat search and rescue
Combat search and rescue are search and rescue operations that are carried out during war that are within or near combat zones.A CSAR mission may be carried out by a task force of helicopters, ground-attack aircraft, tankers and an airborne command post...

HC-130P/N Combat King – USAF aerial refueling tanker and combat search and rescue
HC-130J Combat King II – Next generation combat search and rescue
Combat search and rescue
Combat search and rescue are search and rescue operations that are carried out during war that are within or near combat zones.A CSAR mission may be carried out by a task force of helicopters, ground-attack aircraft, tankers and an airborne command post...

 tanker
HC-130H/J – USCG long-range surveillance and search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...


JC-130
Temporary conversion for flight test operations

KC-130F/R/T/J
Lockheed Martin KC-130
The Lockheed Martin KC-130 is the basic designation for a family of the extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft modified for aerial refuelling. The KC-130J is the latest variant operated by the United States Marine Corps, with 38 delivered out of 47 ordered...

United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 aerial refueling tanker and tactical airlifter

LC-130F/H/R
USAF / Air National Guard – Ski-equipped version for Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 and Antarctic support operations.

MC-130
MC-130E/H Combat Talon I/IISpecial operations
Special operations
Special operations are military operations that are considered "special" .Special operations are typically performed independently or in conjunction with conventional military operations. The primary goal is to achieve a political or military objective where a conventional force requirement does...

 infiltration/extraction variant
MC-130W Combat Spear/Dragon Spear – Special operations tanker/gunship
MC-130P Combat Shadow – Special operations tanker
MC-130J Combat Shadow II – Special operations tanker Air Force Special Operations Command
YMC-130H – Three modified under Operation Credible Sport
Operation Credible Sport
Operation Credible Sport was a joint project of the United States military in the second half of 1980 to prepare for a second rescue attempt of the hostages held in Iran using a Lockheed C-130 Hercules airlifter modified with rocket engines...

 for second Iran hostage crisis
Iran hostage crisis
The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian...

 rescue attempt

NC-130
Permanent conversion for flight test operations

PC-130
Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol is the task of monitoring areas of water. Generally conducted by military and law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol is usually aimed at identifying human activities....


RC-130
Surveillance aircraft
Surveillance aircraft
A surveillance aircraft is an aircraft used for surveillance — collecting information over time. They are operated by military forces and other government agencies in roles such as intelligence gathering, battlefield surveillance, airspace surveillance, observation , border patrol and fishery...

 for reconnaissance

SC-130
Search and rescue

TC-130
Aircrew training

VC-130
VIP transport

WC-130A/B/E/H/J
Weather reconnaissance ("Hurricane Hunter") version for USAF
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 / Air Force Reserve Command
Air Force Reserve Command
The Air Force Reserve Command is a major command of the U.S. Air Force with its headquarters at Robins AFB, Georgia.It stood up as a major command of the Air Force on 17 February 1997....

 in support of the NOAA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , pronounced , like "noah", is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere...

/National Weather Service
National Weather Service
The National Weather Service , once known as the Weather Bureau, is one of the six scientific agencies that make up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States government...

's National Hurricane Center
National Hurricane Center
The National Hurricane Center , located at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, is the division of the National Weather Service responsible for tracking and predicting weather systems within the tropics between the Prime Meridian and the 140th meridian west poleward to the 30th...


Operators


Accidents and losses

The C-130 Hercules has had a low accident rate in general. The Royal Air Force recorded an accident rate of about one aircraft loss per 250,000 flying hours over the last forty years, placing it behind Vickers VC10
Vickers VC10
The Vickers VC10 is a long-range British airliner designed and built by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, and first flown in 1962. The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes with a high subsonic speed and also be capable of hot and high operations from African airports...

s and Lockheed TriStars with no flying losses. USAF C-130A/B/E-models had an overall attrition rate of 5 percent as of 1989 as compared to 1 to 2 percent for commercial airliners in the U.S., according to the NTSB
National Transportation Safety Board
The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine...

, 10 percent for B-52 bombers, and 20 percent for fighters (F-4
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

, F-111), trainers (T-37, T-38
T-38 Talon
The Northrop T-38 Talon is a twin-engine supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2011 in air forces throughout the world....

), and helicopters (H-3).

A total of 70 aircraft were lost by the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 and the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 during combat operations in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 in Southeast Asia. By the nature of the Hercules' worldwide service, the pattern of losses provides an interesting barometer of the global hot spots over the past 50 years.

On 17 August 1988, then President of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq was killed along with the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Lewis Raphel
Arnold Lewis Raphel
Arnold Lewis Raphel was the 18th U.S. ambassador in Pakistan. He was killed when a plane in which he was a passenger mysteriously crashed near Bhawalpur with then Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq and Brigadier General Herbert M. Wassom, chief of the U.S. military group in Pakistan on August 17,...

, when a Pakistan Air Force C-130 carrying them crashed soon after takeoff from Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur , located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs and counted as part of the Rajputana states...

, Pakistan.

Aircraft on display

Australia
  • C-130A RAAF A97-214 used by 36 Squadron from early 1959, withdrawn from use late 1978; now at RAAF Museum, RAAF Base Williams, Point Cook.
  • C-130E RAAF A97-160 used by 37 Squadron from August 1966, withdrawn from use November 2000; to RAAF Museum
    RAAF Museum
    RAAF Museum is the official museum of the Royal Australian Air Force, the second oldest air force in the world, located at RAAF Williams Point Cook. The museum displays aircraft of significance to the RAAF from its inception as the Australian Flying Corps to the present...

    , 14 November 2000, cocooned as of September 2005.


Canada
  • CC-130E RCAF 10314 (later 130314) is on display at the National Air Force Museum of Canada
    National Air Force Museum of Canada
    The National Air Force Museum of Canada, formerly known as the RCAF Memorial Museum, is an aviation museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force and is located on the west side of CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario....

    , CFB Trenton
    CFB Trenton
    Canadian Forces Base Trenton , is a Canadian Forces base located northeast of Trenton, Ontario. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is the hub for air transport operations in Canada and abroad...



Norway
  • C-130H Royal Norwegian Air Force 953 retired 10 June 2007 and moved to the Air Force museum at Oslo Gardermoen in May 2008.


Saudi Arabia
  • C-130H RSAF 460 was operated by 4 Squadron Royal Saudi Air Force
    Royal Saudi Air Force
    The Royal Saudi Air Force , is the aviation branch of the Saudi Arabian armed forces. The RSAF has developed from a largely defensive military force into one with an advanced offensive capability...

    , December 1974 until January 1987. It was damaged in a fire at Jeddah
    Jeddah
    Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

     in December 1989. Restored for ground training by August 1993. At Riyadh Air Base
    Riyadh Air Base
    Riyadh Air Base is an airport near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Two runways 01-19 and 12-30. Recently they have made a new runway 15-33....

     Museum, November 2002, restored for ground display by using a tail from another C-130H.


United Kingdom
  • Hercules C3 XV202 which served with the Royal Air Force from 1967 to 2011 is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford
    Royal Air Force Museum Cosford
    The Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is a museum dedicated to the history of aviation, and the Royal Air Force in particular. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and a registered charity...

    .


United States
  • AC-130A USAF 53-3129, one of the first seven AC-130A aircraft deployed to Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

    , named First Lady in November 1970. This aircraft was a conversion of the first production C-130. On 25 March 1971, it took an anti-aircraft artillery
    Anti-aircraft warfare
    NATO defines air defence as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action." They include ground and air based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be to protect naval, ground and air forces...

     hit in the belly just aft of the nose gear wheel well over the Ho Chi Minh trail
    Ho Chi Minh trail
    The Ho Chi Minh trail was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia...

     in Laos. The 37 mm shell destroyed everything below the crew deck and barely missed striking two crew members. In 1975, after the conclusion of US involvement in the Vietnam war, it was transferred to the Air Force Reserve
    Air Force Reserve Command
    The Air Force Reserve Command is a major command of the U.S. Air Force with its headquarters at Robins AFB, Georgia.It stood up as a major command of the Air Force on 17 February 1997....

    , where it served with the 711th Special Operations Squadron
    711th Special Operations Squadron
    The 711th Special Operations Squadron is part of the 919th Special Operations Wing at Duke Field, Florida. It is an Air Force Reserve Command unit that is operationally-gained by Air Force Special Operations Command .-Mission:...

     of the 919th Special Operations Wing
    919th Special Operations Wing
    The 919th Special Operations Wing is an Air Force Reserve Command wing of the United States Air Force, operationally-gained by the Air Force Special Operations Command and based at Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #3 / Duke Field, Florida.-Mission:The 919 SOW provides and maintains the MC-130E Combat...

    . In 1980 the aircraft was upgraded from the original three-bladed propellers to the quieter four-bladed propellers and was eventually retired in late 1995. The retirement also marked an end to the Air Force Reserve Command
    Air Force Reserve Command
    The Air Force Reserve Command is a major command of the U.S. Air Force with its headquarters at Robins AFB, Georgia.It stood up as a major command of the Air Force on 17 February 1997....

     flying the AC-130A. The aircraft now sits on display in the final Air Force Reserve Command configuration with grey paint, black markings, the four-bladed Hamilton Sunstrand 54H60-91 props at the Air Force Armament Museum
    Air Force Armament Museum
    The Air Force Armament Museum, adjacent to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the only facility in the U.S. dedicated to the display of Air Force armament...

     at Eglin Air Force Base
    Eglin Air Force Base
    Eglin Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately 3 miles southwest of Valparaiso, Florida in Okaloosa County....

    , Florida, USA.
  • C-130A USAF 55-0037 was used by the 773 TCS, 483 TCW, 315 AD, 374 TCW, 815 TAS, 35 TAS, 109 TAS, belly-landed at Duluth, MN., April 1973, repaired; 167 TAS, 180 TAS, to Chanute Technical Training Center as GC-130A, May 1984; now displayed at Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum
    Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum
    The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, the largest aviation museum in Illinois, occupies part of the grounds of the decommissioned Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. It and the base were named for Octave Chanute, railroad engineer and aviation pioneer...

    , Rantoul Aviation Complex, Rantoul
    Rantoul, Illinois
    Rantoul is a village in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The population was 13,674 at the 2010 census. The present mayor is Neal Williams, who was re-elected in 2009...

    , Illinois. as of November 1995.
  • C-130A USAF 56-0518 was by the 314 TCW, 315 AD, 41 ATS, 328 TAS; to South Vietnamese Air Force 435 Transport Squadron, November 1972; holds the C-130 record for taking off with the most personnel on board, during evacuation of SVN, 29 April 1975, with 452. Returned to USAF, 185 TAS, 105 TAS; gate guard at Little Rock AFB Visitor Center by March 1993.
  • C-130A USAF 57-0453 operated from 1958 to 1991, last duty with 155th TAS, 164th TAG, Tennessee Air National Guard, Memphis International Airport, Tennessee, 1976–1991, named "Nite Train to Memphis"; to AMARC in December, 1991, then sent to Texas for modification into replica of C-130A-II 56-0528, shot down by Russian fighters over Soviet Yerevan
    Yerevan
    Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

    , Armenia on 2 September 1958, while on ELINT mission with loss of all crew, displayed in National Vigilance Park
    National Vigilance Park
    The United States National Vigilance Park is a memorial to the military servicemen who participated in aerial reconnaissance during the Cold War. Dedicated on , NVP is located just one block from the NSA headquarters at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. It is open 24 hours a day for viewing...

    , National Security Agency
    National Security Agency
    The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

     grounds, Fort George Meade, Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

    .
  • C-130D USAF 57-0490 was used by the 61st TCS, 17th TCS, 139th TAS with skis, July 1975 – April 1983; to MASDC, 1984–1985, GC-130D ground trainer, Chanute AFB, Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

    , 1986–1990; When Chanute closed in September 1993 it moved to the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum
    Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum
    The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, the largest aviation museum in Illinois, occupies part of the grounds of the decommissioned Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. It and the base were named for Octave Chanute, railroad engineer and aviation pioneer...

    , Rantoul
    Rantoul, Illinois
    Rantoul is a village in Champaign County, Illinois, United States. The population was 13,674 at the 2010 census. The present mayor is Neal Williams, who was re-elected in 2009...

    , Illinois. In July 1994 it moved to the Empire State Air Museum, Schenectady County Airport
    Schenectady County Airport
    Schenectady County Airport is a joint civil-military public airport located three miles north of the city of Schenectady in Schenectady County, New York, USA....

    , New York, until placed on the gate at Stratton ANGB in October 1994.
  • NC-130B USAF 57-0526 was the second B model manufactured, initially delivered as JC-130B; assigned to 6515th Organizational Maintenance Squadron for flight testing at Edwards AFB, California on 29 November 1960; turned over to 6593rd Test Squadron's Operating Location No. 1 at Edwards AFB and spent next seven years supporting Corona Program; "J" status and prefix removed from aircraft Oct 1967; transferred to 6593rd Test Squadron at Hickam AFB, Hawaii and modified for mid-air retrieval of satellites; acquired by 6514th Test Squadron at Hill AFB in Jan 1987 and used as electronic testbed and cargo transport; aircraft retired January 1994 with 11,000+ flight hours and moved to Hill Aerospace Museum
    Hill Aerospace Museum
    Hill Aerospace Museum, located near Ogden, Utah, is a U.S. Air Force museum that is part of the United States Air Force Heritage Program.The museum, founded in 1981 and moved to its current location in 1991, displays over 90 aircraft from around the world, in addition to a variety of munitions,...

     by January 1994.
  • C-130E s/n 62-1787 on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force
    National Museum of the United States Air Force
    The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the official museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base northeast of Dayton, Ohio. The NMUSAF is the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum with more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display...

    , was flown to the museum on 18 August 2011. One of the greatest feats of heroism during the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

     involved "Spare 617" (its call sign). The C-130E attempted to airdrop ammunition to surrounded South Vietnamese forces at An Loc, Vietnam. Approaching the drop zone, Spare 617 received heavy enemy ground fire that damaged two engines, ruptured a bleed air duct in the cargo compartment, and set the ammunition on fire. Flight engineer Sanders was killed, and navigator Lenz and co-pilot Hering were both wounded. Despite receiving severe burns from hot air escaping from the damaged air bleed duct, loadmaster Shaub extinguished a fire in the cargo compartment, and successfully jettisoned the cargo pallets, which exploded in mid-air. Despite loosing a third engine on final approach, pilot Capt. Caldwell managed to land Spare 617 safely. For their actions, Caldwell and Shaub received the Air Force Cross
    Air Force Cross
    Air Force Cross may refer to:*Air Force Cross *Air Force Cross...

    , the U.S. Air Force's second highest award for valor. Shaub also received the William H. Pitsenbarger Award for Heroism from the Air Force Sergeants Association
    Air Force Sergeants Association
    The Air Force Sergeants Association is a non-profit organization representing the professional and personal interests of nearly 111,000 active, retired and veteran total enlisted members of the United States Air Force and their families....

    .
  • KC-130F USMC BuNo 149798 was used in tests in October–November 1963 by the U.S. Navy for unarrested
    Arresting gear
    Arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is the name used for mechanical systems designed to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Arresting gear on aircraft carriers is an essential component of naval aviation, and it is most commonly used on CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Similar systems...

     landings and unassisted take-offs from the carrier USS Forrestal, it remains the record holder for largest aircraft to operate from a carrier flight deck, and carried the name "Look Ma, No Hook" during the tests. Retired to the National Museum of Naval Aviation
    National Museum of Naval Aviation
    The National Museum of Naval Aviation is a military and aerospace museum located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. The museum opened in 1962....

    , NAS Pensacola, Florida in May 2003.
  • C-130G USMC BuNo 151891 was modified to EC-130G, 1966, then testbed for EC-130Q in 1981. To TC-130G in May 1990 and assigned as Blue Angels
    Blue Angels
    The United States Navy's Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels, was formed in 1946 and is currently the oldest formal flying aerobatic team...

     support craft, serving as "Fat Albert Airlines" from 1991 to 2002. Retired to the National Museum of Naval Aviation
    National Museum of Naval Aviation
    The National Museum of Naval Aviation is a military and aerospace museum located at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. The museum opened in 1962....

     at NAS Pensacola, Florida, November 2002.
  • C-130E USAF 64-0525 is on display at the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Aircraft was the last assigned to the 43rd AW at Pope AFB, NC prior to retirement from the USAF.
  • C-130E USAF 69-6579 was operated by the 61st TAS, 314th TAW, 50th AS, 61st AS; at Dyess AFB as maintenance trainer as GC-130E, March 1998;to Dyess AFB museum, January 2004.
  • MC-130E Combat Talon AFSOC 64-0567 was unofficially known as "Wild Thing". It transported captured Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreiga in 1989 during Operation Just Cause, and participated in Operation Eagle Claw, the unsuccessful attempt to rescue US hostages from Iran in 1980. Wild Thing was also the first fixed-wing aircraft to employ night-vision goggles. On display at Hurlburt Field
    Hurlburt Field
    Hurlburt Field is a U.S. Air Force installation located in Okaloosa County, Florida, immediately west of the Town of Mary Esther. It is part of the greater Eglin Air Force Base reservation, and is home to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command , the 1st Special Operations Wing , the...

    , in Florida.
  • C-130E USAF 69-6580 was operated by the 61st TAS, 314th TAW, 317th TAW, 314th TAW, 317th TAW, 40th AS, 41st AS, 43rd AW, retired after center wing cracks were detected in April 2002; to the Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB on 2 February 2004.
  • C-130E USAF 70-1269 was used by the 43rd AW and now on display at the Pope Air Park, Pope AFB, 2006.
  • C-130H USAF 74-1686 was used by the 463rd TAW; one of three C-130H airframes modified to YMC-130H for aborted rescue attempt of Iranian hostages, Operation Credible Sport
    Operation Credible Sport
    Operation Credible Sport was a joint project of the United States military in the second half of 1980 to prepare for a second rescue attempt of the hostages held in Iran using a Lockheed C-130 Hercules airlifter modified with rocket engines...

    , with rocket packages blistered onto fuselage in 1980, but these were removed after mission was canceled. Subsequent duty with the 4950th Test Wing
    4950th Test Wing
    The 4950th Test Wing, a wing of the United States Air Force, was established in March 1971.It was created as the flying unit of the Wright Air Development Center, which was created in June 1951. Wright ADC changed to Division status in December 1959 until it was replaced by the Aeronautical Systems...

    , then donated to the Robins AFB museum, Georgia, in March 1988.

Specifications (C-130H)

See also

External links

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