Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR February 2011 Contents 44 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
efficient than those on earlier models while
providing 29% more takeoff thrust. Each Allison
AE2100D3 turboprop is rated at 4 591 shp (3
425 kW ) and is fitted with Full Authority Digital
Engine Control (FADEC). Each engine drives a
six-bladed (rather than a four-bladed) propeller.
Largely due to the new engines, the Super
Hercules performs well in hot and high
conditions, where it is able to deliver 40%
better payload/range performance compared to
earlier versions, such as the C-130E. In Iraq and
Afghanistan this has made the Super Hercules a
very useful aircraft and one C-130J sometimes
does the job of three C-130Hs.
Maximum internal fuel load amounts to 5
621 gallons (25 552 l), but an additional 1 148
gallon (5 220 l) fuel tank can be carried under
each wing. An inflight refuelling probe can be
mounted on the left side of the fuselage, above
The Hercules can carry a wide variety of loads
up to roughly 42 000 lb (19 090 kg), from artillery
pieces to wheeled and tracked vehicles, pallets
and containers. It can accommodate 92 troops,
64 paratroopers, 74 stretchers or 54 passengers
on airline-style seating.
Handling cargo is easier due to the automation
and simplification of various cargo handling
tasks - the cargo area to be reconfigured in five
minutes rather than the normal 25 minutes,
and the C-130J is capable of automatic
pre-programmed cargo drops.
While the Super Hercules is a great leap
forward over the original C-130, and can carry
90% of US Army and Air Force equipment, it
cannot carry loads greater than 44 800 pounds
(20 tons), which significantly limits the type of
vehicles it can carry. This puts more pressure on
heavier transports like the Boeing C-17 (which is
four times more expensive to operate per hour),
and throws a spanner in the works for many US
armoured vehicle projects.
Lockheed has developed a number of C-130J
variants. The C-130J-30 is a stretched version with
a 15-foot (4.57 m) longer fuselage. It can carry
two more pallets (to eight), 36 more troops (for a
total of 128) or 28 more paratroopers (92), 23 extra
stretchers (97) or 25 more seated passengers (79).
Although it can carry more, the stretched Super
Hercules has less range and altitude
A psychological warfare version exists as the
EC-130J ‘Command Solo III’. Seven aircraft are
operated by the US Air Force’s 193rd Special
Operations Wing at Harrisburg International
Airport, Pennsylvania. EC-130Js became
operational in late 2005. IOC was expected in 2003
but delayed due to problems in integrating a new
electrical generator. EC-130Js have been deployed
to the Middle East in 2005, 2007 and 2009.
The KC-130J is a tanker version developed for
the US Marine Corps. It features two hose-and-
drogue refuelling pods fitted under the wings.
The KC-130J can offload 7 040 gallons (32 000 l)
of fuel from its wing and external tanks and can
carry another 2 997 gallons (13 625 l) of fuel in a
fuselage tank. In April 2004 the first KC-130J was
formally accepted into the US Marine Corps. First
combat deployment was in Iraq in April 2005.
The US Marine Corps plans to purchase up to 79
KC-130Js to replace its KC-130F/R/T fleet, but has
46 on order at the moment.
All Marine Corps KC-130Js will have the wiring
needed to carry the Harvest Hawk kit, which
consists of a fire-control console in the cargo
hold, AN/AAQ-30 infrared and television sensor
in the port underwing fuel tank and a four-missile
Hellfire launcher in place of the left refuelling
pod. Ten Griffen GPS-guided missiles can be
mounted on the ramp. In the future, a 30 mm
cannon could be mounted in the troop door, but
many more weapons will be added over time.
Currently, plans dictate three kits per squadron
(which means nine kits by 2011 and 12 in 2012).
Testing is underway and the kit has been deployed
in Afghanistan since October 2010.
The HC-130J is a search and rescue variant
based on the KC-130J. Lockheed Martin unveiled
both the HC-130J and MC-130J in May 2008 as
private ventures. The first of a planned 18 new
HC-130Js was delivered to the US Air Force’s Air
Combat Command (ACC) in September 2010.
Initial operational capability will take place
in 2012, when the new models start replacing
HC-130P/Ns from the 1960s. Ultimately, the Air
Force wants to purchase 78 HC-130Js to replace
Six HC-130Js are operated by the US Coast
Guard. The first was handed over in 2002, although
it was only between 2007 and 2008 that they were
fitted with ventrally mounted 360-degree search
radars, nose-mounted FLIR Systems Star Safire
III infrared imaging systems, direction-finding
systems for detecting emergency signals, and
flight deck mission operator stations. The sixth
fully operational aircraft was accepted in May
2010, and will be joined by another two, which are
being funded by the US Navy.
The MC-130J Combat Talon II is a Special
Forces variant for the Air Force Special Operations
Command (AFSOC), which plans to buy 26
MC-130Js. Ultimately, AFSOC would like to
purchase 37 MC-130Js to replace its 40-year old
MC-130E/Ps. The first ten aircraft are slated for
delivery in 2011. Like the HC-130J, the MC-130J
is capable of air-to-air refuelling and also features
an extended service life wing, armour, combat
systems operation station, infrared sensor and
changes to the cargo handling system and boom
The WC-130J is a weather reconnaissance
version, and its main job is to collect data on
cyclones and hurricanes - thanks to information
from the WC-130J, hurricane predictions are
15-30% more accurate. In September 1999 the
53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at
Keesler Air Force Base in Missouri received the
first of eight WC-130Js, and received two more
in 2000. The WC-130Js of the 53rd WRS were
deployed for the first time in May 2005 when
they tracked hurricane Adrian over the Pacific.
In September 2005 the 53rd WRS completed
conversion to the new type.
The Air Force Special Operations Command
is looking to buy 16 AC-130Js to replace the
last eight of its Vietnam-era AC-130H Spectre
gunships, with the Air Force planning to set aside
$1.6 billion over the next five years for the aircraft.
Delivery of the new aircraft would take place in
2017, where they would operate alongside 17
more modern AC-130U Spooky gunships.
The KC-130J is a tanker version developed for the US Marine Corps.
The Air Force Special Operations Command is looking to buy 16 AC-130Js to replace the last eight
of its Vietnam-era AC-130H Spectre gunships, with the Air Force planning to set aside $1.6 billion
over the next five years for the aircraft.
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