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The Lockheed Martin C-130J "Super" Hercules is an American 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 military aircraft in history. During more than 50 years of service, the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. The Hercules has also outlived several planned successor designs, most notably the Advanced Medium STOL Transport contestants.

Design and development

The C-130J is the newest version of the Hercules and the only model still in production. Externally similar to the classic Hercules in general appearance, the J model is a very different aircraft. These differences include new Rolls-Royce AE 2100 D3 turboprops with Dowty R391 composite scimitar propellers, digital avionics (including Head-Up Displays (HUDs) for each pilot) and reduced crew requirements (two pilots, one load master, and one Crew Chief—no navigator or flight engineer).

The aircraft can also be configured with the "enhanced cargo handling system". The system consists of a computerized loadmasters station from where the user can remotely control the under floor winch and also configure the flip floor system to palletized roller or flat floor cargo handling. Initially developed for the USAF, this system enables rapid role changes to be carried out and so extends the C-130J's time available to complete taskings. These combined changes have improved performance over its C-130E/H siblings, such as 40% greater range, 21% higher maximum speed, and 41% shorter take-off distance.

The C-130J is available in a standard-length or stretched -30 variant. Lockheed Martin received the launch order for the J-model from the RAF, which ordered 25 aircraft, with first deliveries beginning in 1999 as Hercules C. Mk 4 (C-130J-30) and Hercules C. Mk 5 (C-130J).

The United States Air Force awarded a $470 million contract to Lockheed Martin for six modified KC-130J aircraft for use by the Air Force and Special Operations Command in mid-June 2008. The contract is expected to lead to C-130J variants that will replace aging HC-130s and MC-130s.

With the addition of the Marine Corps's ISR / Weapon Mission Kit, the KC-130J will be able to serve as an overwatch aircraft and can deliver ground support fire in the form of 30mm cannon fire, Hellfire missiles, and precision-guided bombs. This power, nicknamed the "Harvest Hawk", can be used in scenarios where precision is not a requisite, such as area denial.

Operational history

Co-Pilot's HUD of a C-130J

The largest operator of the new model will be the U.S. Air Force, which is ordering the aircraft in increasing numbers. Current operators of the C-130J are the USAF (to include the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard), U.S. Marine Corps (being their 4th variant after KC-130F, KC-130R and KC-130T), U.S. Coast Guard, Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Danish Air Force, Royal Norwegian Air Force and the Italian Air Force. Total procurement of C-130J aircraft has reached 186 orders as of December 2006.

Lockheed Martin has offered to lease four C-130Js to the German Luftwaffe, which has been awaiting a Transall replacement set for 2010 (the Airbus A400M), but the deal was rejected.

The Indian Air Force purchased six C-130J-30s in early 2008 at a cost of up to US$1.059 billion. It is a package deal with the US government under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, and India has retained options to buy six more of these aircraft for its special forces for combined army-air force operations.

The Canadian Forces signed a US$1.4 billion contract with Lockheed Martin for 17 new C-130J-30s on 16 January 2008, as part of the procurement process to replace the existing C-130E and H models. The C-130J will be officially designated CC-130J Hercules in Canadian Forces service.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force ordered four C-130Js in 2007 to replace six aging C-130Hs in need of additional repairs. The first aircraft was delivered in November 2008.

Qatarmarker ordered four C-130Js in 2008, along with spare parts and training for the Qatari Emiri Air Force. The contract is worth a total of US$393.6 million and deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2011. The United Arab Emirates Air Force announced an order for 12 C-130J transport aircraft at the 2009 IDEX, with an announced value of US$1.3 billion.

The Israeli Air Force is seeking to purchase nine C-130J-30s. The Iraqi Air Force has ordered six C-130J-30s. "Iraq Orders C-130Js". Defense Industry Daily, 12 August 2009.

In June 2009, Lockheed Martin said that both Britain and France had asked for technical details on the C-130J as an alternative to the troubled Airbus A400M.


Tactical airlifter
Variant with longer fuselage.
United States Marine Corps aerial refueling tanker and tactical airlifter
weather reconnaissance ("Hurricane Hunter") version for the Air Force Reserve Command
Commando Solo variant for the Air Force Special Operations Command operated by the Pennsylvania Air National Guard
Long range patrol and air-sea rescue variant for the United States Coast Guard
CC-130J Hercules
Canadian Forces designation for the C-130J
Hercules C4
Royal Air Force designation for the C-130J-30
Hercules C5
Royal Air Force designation for the C-130J


Current and future operators of the C-130J shown in blue
C-130J-30 of the Royal Norwegian Air Force at Rygge Airshow 2009.

  • Indian Air Force: six to be delivered starting in 2011. Option to purchase six more.

Specifications (C-130J)

RAF Hercules C.4 (C-130J-30) in 2004

Specifications for are for basic J-model; data for C-130J-30 noted.

See also

Exterior view of a USAF C-130J


  1. C-130J Advanced propeller system (6-blade R391 propellor). Dowty Propellers. Retrieved: 31 July 2009.
  2. C-130J Spec Book.
  3. Eden, Paul. "Lockheed C-130 Hercules". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1904687849.
  4. General James T. Conway on The Posture of the United States Marine Corps, 14 May 2009
  5. [1]
  6. "News Breaks", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 18 December 2006.
  7. India – C-130J Aircraft. Defence Security Cooperation Agency, 25 May 2007.
  8. Warwick, Graham. "Canada signs $1.4bn contract for 17 Lockheed Martin C-130Js". Flight International, 16 January 2008. Accessed: 17 January 2008.
  9. "Norway to Renew Tactical Transport Fleet". Defense Industry Daily, 23 November 2009.
  10. "Kontraktene er på plass" . Norwegian Defence Force website, 29 June 2007. Contract for new transport planes signed (english)
  11. "Arbeidshesten er tilbake" . Norwegian Defence Force website, 25 November 2008. Plough horse back in business (english)
  12. Hoyle, Craig. "Norway takes delivery of first Lockheed Martin C-130J". Flight International, 17 November 2008.
  13. "LOCAL BRIEFING - Lockheed to Supply Planes to Qatar". Washington Post, 8 October 2008, p. D4
  14. Israel - C-130J-30 Aircraft
  15. Iraq - C-130J-30 Aircraft. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, 25 July 2008.
  16. U.K., France Seek Data on Super Hercules Plane, Lockheed Says
  17. "Sultanate of Oman Acquires C-130J Super Hercules". Reuters, 5 June 2009
  18. "Qatar Buys 3 C-130Js". Defense News, 8 October 2008.
  19. Hoyle, Craig. "Lockheed Martin delivers 100th C-130J for US customer"., 1 May 2008. Retrieved on 2 May 2008.

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