The other of two new MC-130J Commando II planes ferried from Marietta, Georgia, to RAF Mildenhall on 5 December 2014 (Image © David Key / Lockheed Martin)

Meet the new “homies” of Mildenhall

US Air Force crews ferried two MC-130J Commando II aircraft assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command from the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility in Marietta, Georgia, on 5 December 2014. The special Hercules aircraft will be operated by the 352nd Special Operations Group and will be based at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in England.

The Commando II supports such missions as in-flight refueling, infiltration/exfiltration, and aerial delivery and resupply of special operations forces. The MC-130J primarily flies missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by airborne threats. Its secondary mission includes the airdrop of leaflets.

The MC-130J is replacing the aging SOF fleet of 37 MC-130E and P tankers. The first aircraft was delivered in September 2011 to Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, with final delivery expected in fiscal year 2017. A crew of five (two pilots, one combat system officer and two load masters) gets the Commando II up to a max speed of 362 knots at 22,000 feet, or slower at the service ceiling of 28,000 feet over a distance of max 3,000 miles.

Each Commando II costs about 67 million dollars.

Source: Lockheed Martin / US Air Force

One of two new MC-130J Commando II planes ferried from Marietta, Georgia, to RAF Mildenhall on 5 December 2014 (Image © David Key / Lockheed Martin)
One of two new MC-130J Commando II planes ferried from Marietta, Georgia, to RAF Mildenhall on 5 December 2014 (Image © David Key / Lockheed Martin)
The other of two new MC-130J Commando II planes ferried from Marietta, Georgia, to RAF Mildenhall on 5 December 2014 (Image © David Key / Lockheed Martin)
The other of two new MC-130J Commando II planes ferried from Marietta, Georgia, to RAF Mildenhall on 5 December 2014 (Image © David Key / Lockheed Martin)