The workhorse of the Air Force combat airlift fleet, the C-130 Hercules has been in service for more than half a century. Designed specifically to transport troops and equipment in the combat zone via airdrop or short runways, the Hercules operates throughout the U.S. Air Force serving with Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Pacific Air Forces, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war situations.
Basic and specialized versions of the aircraft perform a range of missions, including airlift support, Antarctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray missions, firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service and natural disaster relief missions. The C-130 features a loading ramp and door in the tail that can accomodate palletized loads, vehicles and troops. The aircraft can airdrop up to 42,000 pound loads or land on short, unimproved airstrips in forward combat zones.
The C-130 can be rapidly reconfigured for the various types of cargo such as palletized equipment, floor-loaded material, airdrop platforms, container delivery system bundles, vehicles and personnel or aeromedical evacuation.
The C-130J is the latest addition to the C-130 fleet and will replace aging C-130Es. The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology, which reduces manpower requirements, lowers operating and support costs, and provides life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models. Compared to older C-130s, the J model climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance. The C-130J-30 is a stretch version, adding 15 feet to the fuselage, increasing usable space in the cargo compartment.
C-130J/J-30 major system improvements include advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics, color multifunctional liquid crystal and head-up displays and state-of-the-art navigation that includes a dual inertial navigation system and GPS. The aircraft also features fully integrated defensive systems, low-power color radar, digital moving map display, new turboprop engines with six-bladed all-composite propellers and a digital autopilot. The C-130J/J-30 also includes improved fuel, environmental and ice-protection and an enhanced cargo-handling system.