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.
Two additional C-130J Super Hercules aircraft operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) ferried from the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, GA, to South Korea on Monday 30 May.
These C-130Js will join the ROKAF’s other two Super Hercules aircraft, which were delivered in March. ROKAF aircrews also currently operate a fleet of C-130H legacy aircraft. The first South Korean C-130J first flew on 14 August 2013.
The ROKAF’s new Super Hercules is the longer fuselage or “stretched” combat delivery variant. Lockheed Martin is also contracted to provide a two-year support program, including C-130J aircrew and maintenance training. South Korea is the 14th country to fly the ‘J-type’ Hercules.
The Israeli Air & Defence saw the debut of a new aircraft on 9 April 2014, when the first Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules – or Shimshon in Israeli service – landed at Nevatim Airbase.
Israel ordered its six C-130Js through a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) contract with the US Government. The country has been operating original C-130s since 1971, This is the first ferry of the C-130Js currently on order for the IAF, which has operated legacy C-130s since 1971. The force currently flies the a dozen C-130E/H Qarnafs, plus three tanker KC-130Hs.
The first C-130J was actually already handed over in June 2013, but it remained at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, Georgia, to install modifications especially requested by the Israeli.
The US Marine Corps Reserve received its first Lockheed Martin KC-130J Super Hercules on 17 March 2014. The tanker aircraft flew directly from the factory plant in Marietta, Georgia, to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 (VMGR-234) at NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. The base also happens to be the home of Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics headquarters location in Fort Worth.
The US Marine Corps operates KC-130s since the 1960s. The aircraft use a probe-and-drogue system, which works simpler than the boom type of refueling of most US Air Force aircraft. Most reserve units still fly the KC-130T, of which at least 27 are still operational. Within the regular USMC squadrons the KC-130J has replace the KC-130F/R. The USMC ordered 47 of those new machines.
Marines KC-130Js flew the first combat missions when six aircraft of VMGR-252 relocated to Al Asad Airbase in Iraq in February 2005 during Operation Enduring Freedom.
The first C-130J Super Hercules for the 61st Airlift Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas (USA) was delivered on October 24th, 2013. A 61th AS crew flew it home after taking off from the Lockheed Martin factory airfield in Marietta, Georgia.
The 61st AS, which has operated C-130s since 1956, is part of the 19th Airlift Wing that is assigned to Air Mobility Command. Lockheed Martin is on contract to deliver nine C-130J-30s currently designated for assignment to the 61st AS.