U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin announced that it delivered the 2,600th C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter to U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command on Oct. 21.
This milestone Hercules is an MC-130J Commando II Special Operations airlifter assigned to 9th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, according to a company news release.
A U.S. Air Force crew ferried its new MC-130J to its home on Oct. 22, flying this Herc from Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Georgia, site, where all production C-130s have been built.
Using its aft loading ramp and door, the C-130 can accommodate a wide variety of oversized cargo, including everything from utility helicopters and six-wheeled armored vehicles to standard palletized cargo and military personnel, according to the Air Force fact sheet for the C-130. In an aerial delivery role, it can airdrop loads up to 42,000 pounds or use its high-flotation landing gear to land and deliver cargo on rough, dirt strips.
The flexible design of the Hercules enables it to be configured for many different missions, allowing one aircraft to perform the role of many, the fact sheet states. Much of the special mission equipment added to the Hercules is removable, allowing the aircraft to return to its cargo delivery role if desired. Additionally, 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 Super Hercules is the current C-130 production model and the global fleet recently surpassed 2 million flight hours. Twenty nations around the world have chosen the C-130J to support tactical airlift needs.