Top Secret C-130 with Rocket Boosters

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Late 1980: in a top-secret mission to rescue the American hostages in Iran, the US government modified a C-130 Hercules to be a "Super STOL" aircraft by adding 30 rockets to boost it on takeoff and slow it on landing. The plan was to land on a football pitch near the US embassy, but the project was scratched when the only fully-modified C-130 crashed during a test flight.

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  1. larry6049
    larry6049 Apr 22, 2011

    Even though the hostages were rescued the super STOL project was scraped due to an error in landing.

  2. NASA2985
    NASA2985 Apr 22, 2011

    That's cool

  3. Tim1952
    Tim1952 Apr 28, 2011

    The project was called Credible Sport. Two C-130s were modified in 4 months and started flight testing. One of the aircraft had a landing mishap when forward rockets fired early, and the aircraft was scrapped. The debacle at Desert One is what killed the Credible Sport program, not the landing mishap. President Carter stopped rescue plans after Desert One. The surviving Credible Sport aircraft is on display at the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB in Georgia.

  4. jimer
    jimer Apr 28, 2011

    Why is this now featured? This is old, outdated video/news that was never fully developed

  5. 17328045
    17328045 Apr 29, 2011

    For years the the DC-130 carried numerous RPV/ drones. How about some recognition to our troops. TDY was our middle name as we supported too numerous missions in many parts of the world. Go to our site @ 100AMMS Past Our Prime Squadron POPS, for more info.You will be amazed at the info to include the DC-130. Thanks for the opportunity to comment. The Path Finder, Al Carangelo Msgt, USAF, Ret

  6. Keh1959
    Keh1959 May 11, 2011

    I remember this as I was there when they arrived at MacDill AFB at 3am. SSGT Keith Halpin 1977-1982 Transient Alert

  7. Keh1959
    Keh1959 May 11, 2011

    I remember this as I worked Transient Alert at MacDill AFB 1977-1982 SSGT K. Halpin.

  8. 20281248
    20281248 May 11, 2011

    The blue angels use these too right?

  9. dragonbeast
    dragonbeast Jul 26, 2011

    Okay I was with the 307th Medical BN, 82nd Airborne, in 1980 and I had to load this baby with a deuce and a half, water buffalo and a jeep with a generator trailer, they took us 30,000 feet and did a perpendicular dive and pulled at the last minute, I was praying the whole time that we had secured those vehicles right, then unstrap before stopping and take the vehicles out of c-130 at the same moment it started to take off,,,,,,and I did not know about the rockets, until now, but i can tell you we proceeded with the mission, total of 144 airplanes, the deal was then struck while we were midway to Iran, that Iran would release the hostages when reagan took power.

  10. greglammers
    greglammers Aug 30, 2011

    they should make another one, or two, and this time put pilots through flight simulators to master the sequence of firing the rockets before flying the actual plane.

  11. jklewis
    jklewis Aug 30, 2011

    I can't believe they didn't just use a landing gear squatch switch to trigger the landing sequence. Duh.

  12. Hollandsig
    Hollandsig Sep 01, 2011

    Clean Rating: Safe for work. Top Secret C-130 with Rocket Boosters: In Vietnam C-130s' were outfitted with JATO Assist Belts for taking off from Cuchi on Non-Perforated Aluminum Plating in fall of 1965. Landing them used full REVESRSE THRUST on all 4 Engines BEFORE we landed and we rolled no moiré than 4 lengths of the Aircraft. They also used TAIL HOOKS on chains just like on an Aircraft carrier. Talking about sudden stops!!! On takeoff, we used less than 45 yards to get off the airstrip. This was just for the C-130s used for personnel, mail and Filled Body Bag pickups. They were called SPECIAL MISSIONS…

  13. 28035796
    28035796 Sep 13, 2011

    This hardly new nor is it "top secret", In 1966-67 I was a member of the 464th Troop Carrier Wing, Pope AFB/Ft Bragg, NC, using C-130 and Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO). While it worked great, it really, never caught on at the time and to my knowledge, was never used in a combat situation-Ctry Lawyer, Talladega, Ala

  14. 6206080
    6206080 Sep 14, 2011

    jato was used before 53 at the missle test center I was station at prior to jan ,53 when I rejoined the USAF reserve.nothing new

  15. lets-lob-rob
    lets-lob-rob Sep 14, 2011

    I like that video of th C-130...whoever flysw in that awesome Jules Verne creation.i tip my hat to!

  16. 13657540
    13657540 Sep 14, 2011

    JATO on the C130 is not new and has been capably used many years ago? Why all this fuss? Just mod all of the C130's with thsi ability and get on with it....

  17. 6475674
    6475674 Sep 14, 2011

    with all the engineering in doing this did anyone think of idiot proofing the jets by putting a sefety switch on the landing gear so they don't fire until it makes touchdown.

  18. 22990127
    22990127 Sep 14, 2011

    Not so top secret, Blue Angels had rocket assign on a C-130 back in 83

  19. singlerider
    singlerider Sep 14, 2011

    saw this on a blue angel aircract in one of the videos several years ago

  20. 19070903
    19070903 Sep 16, 2011

    Nowadays it's called an OV-22 Osprey!

  21. 5846650
    5846650 Sep 17, 2011

    A pretty amazing engineering effort in such a short time. The political story behind this extremely expensive, risky engineering effort (not to mention the risky mission) is that Carter was so desperate to get re-elected, obviously money was no object. Still, it must have been a fun project to work on! In the end, it's another tribute to the aura of Reagan. Just his presence in office got them free; didn't cost a dime.

  22. 27418641
    27418641 Sep 17, 2011

    Why film something that was dealt with in the past?

  23. 12648958
    12648958 Sep 18, 2011

    I think The Coast Guard used JATO assist on their old HU16E flying albatross during the late 50's and early 60's.

  24. Nightlife-6
    Nightlife-6 Sep 18, 2011

    Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda - Talked to the men of MACV-SOG and used one of their modified 130 setting on the field outside in thailand and at site 96 during late 70s

  25. 4517864
    4517864 Sep 18, 2011

    This is not the same as JATO. JATO was a take off only application (Jet Assisted Take Off). This application also aided in reducing the landing room needed.

  26. 26442362
    26442362 Sep 19, 2011

    good idea...what is the progress on it now? it still safe to use?

  27. JayDe1313
    JayDe1313 Sep 19, 2011

    I remember the C-130 being used by TAC in an Aerial Flight Demonstration Team, not unlike the Thunderbirds, called "The Four Horsemen" The C-130 has always been an impressive bird. Lockheed has always built the best transports. (and other "exotic aircraft: F-104/F-12A/SR-71)

  28. 26301605Tishbite
    26301605Tishbite Sep 20, 2011

    Very Interesting Clips.

  29. 5537289
    5537289 Sep 20, 2011

    Ken F After working on the C-130 in special ops for many years, the only thing that I see wrong is that they did not wire the rockets fire button to the touchdown switches. This would have prevented the rockets being fired too soon. I was not on this project.

  30. AFSSson
    AFSSson Sep 21, 2011

    Actually, the Blue Angels C130, dubbed "FAT ALBERT", has rocket boosters. Each show, they demonstrate how these work.

  31. FearlessFosdick
    FearlessFosdick Sep 23, 2011

    I was aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Forrestal in 1963 and witnessed a C130 operating off the ship. Takeoff by deck launch, No catapult, no JATO. Landing with reverse thrust only, no tailhook.

  32. 23162669
    23162669 Sep 28, 2011

    Just to be "correct", this C-130 had RATO assist not JATO assist. JATO(s) were used on B-47' & some B-52's. Rato's go back to near the end of WWII! We had 2 of them in my A & E class in 1950. They were German "war trophies" for A & E schools to learn from.

  33. 22583959
    22583959 Nov 10, 2011

    DocGay-This c-130 is not new because they did the same thing in Vietnam.Rockets was in use and it wasn't TOP SECRET back then.But it makes for a GREAT LIGHT SHOW on take off.COOL BEANS!De Oppresso Liber

  34. MinnesotaSpirit
    MinnesotaSpirit Sep 03, 2014

    They should have built another one... never quit...especially when the idea shows promise.

  35. 35868508
    35868508 Jan 27, 2017

    It's not a secret anymore

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