Tag Archives: Super Hercules

The Kingdom’s Hercules fleet just got even bigger

The Hercules fleet of Saudi Arabia is getting bigger and bigger. Upon the 48 aircraft “the Kingdom” is already operating, just two new ones arrived.

The latest deliveries are two KC-130Js, making Saudi Arabia the 16th country operating the type for its in-flight refuelling needs. No other country in the world more C-130s than Saudi Arabia, apart from the aircraft’s homeland United States of course.

Saudi Hercules fleet

In total the Royal Saudi Air Force will receive 5 KC-130Js, while it has 20 regular C-130J-30s on order as well. They will be added to the 30 C-130E/H tactical airlifters, 7 KC-130H tankers, 6 L-100-30 airlifters and 5 VC-130H VIP aircraft.

Royal Saudi Air Force KC-130J Super Hercules 3209 (Image © Andrew McMurtie / Lockheed Martin)
Royal Saudi Air Force KC-130J Super Hercules 3209 (Image © Andrew McMurtie / Lockheed Martin)

The Saudi Hercs currently are based at Price Sultan Airbase (3 squadrons) and Jeddah (1 squadron). The Lockheed C-130 is a true workhorse, with Airheadsfly.com celebrating the 2,500 aircraft mark last year.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Royal Saudi Air Force KC-130J Super Hercules 3208 (Image © Damien A. Guarnieri / Lockheed Martin)

More US Hercs on the way

UPDATED 3 January | Lockheed Martin is to build 32 more C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft for various US defense agencies. The order is worth over 1 billion USD and compromises 13 C-130J-30s, five Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) equipped HC-130Js, 11 combat support MC-130Js and two KC-130J tankers.

UPDATE | Lockheed Martin reports it is contracted to build another 16 C-130J-30, eight HC-130J, 19 MC-130J and four KC-130Js, bringing up the total of aircraft on order to 78. The contract is worth 5 billion USD. The US Coast Guard also options five HC-130J aircraft.

Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, Georgia, and is expected to be complete by April 2020. The US already has well over 200 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in service.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured iamge: This HC-130J was delivered to the US Air Force’s 347th Rescue Group at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, in April 2015. (Image © David Key / Lockheed Martin)

Feature: C-130 Hercules beats 2,500

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules has reached a new milestone. On 11 December 2015 the 2,500th aircraft of the type was delivered: a HC-130J Combat King II to the US Air Force’s 71st Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

With reaching the number the US aircraft manufacturer illustrates once again the important role of the most popular military transport aircraft of modern times. The C-130 easily beats the Antonov AN-26 (1,400 produced), the AN-24 (1,300 – 1,400) and the AN-12 (1,200+ produced), of which only the AN-12 is somewhat similar as a four-engine turboprop tactical airlifter. The Hercules has been flying into many battles, providing troops with necessary provisions and ammunition. But it also brought thousands of tons of food and medical supplies to people in need and rescuing many from disaster zones.

Loadmaster Senior Airman Kevin O’Neil, 71st Rescue Squadron, waits for engine start-up of Herc 13-782 on 11 December 2015 at the Lockheed Martin C-130 Ramp in Marietta, Georgia (Image © Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan / US Air Force)
Loadmaster Senior Airman Kevin O’Neil, 71st Rescue Squadron, waits for engine start-up of Herc 13-782 on 11 December 2015 at the Lockheed Martin C-130 Ramp in Marietta, Georgia (Image © Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan / US Air Force)
Captain Andrew Kim, 71st Rescue Squadron pilot, flies the 2,500 Hercules, a HC-130J Combat King II on 11 December 2015 in the skies over southern Georgia. (Image © Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan / US Air Force)
Captain Andrew Kim, 71st Rescue Squadron pilot, flies the 2,500 Hercules, a HC-130J Combat King II on 11 December 2015 in the skies over southern Georgia. (Image © Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan / US Air Force)
The 2,500th Hercules, the seventh HC-130J Combat King II of the USAF's 71st Rescue Squadron conducts a low pass before landing on 11 December 2015 at Moody AFB (Image © Senior Airman Ceaira Tinsley / US Air Force)
The 2,500th Hercules, the seventh HC-130J Combat King II of the USAF’s 71st Rescue Squadron conducts a low pass before landing on 11 December 2015 at Moody AFB (Image © Senior Airman Ceaira Tinsley / US Air Force)
The 2,500 Hercules delivered taxis to the parking area of Moody AFB after landing on 11 December 2015 (Image © Senior Airman Ceaira Tinsley / US Air Force)
The 2,500 Hercules delivered taxis to the parking area of Moody AFB after landing on 11 December 2015 (Image © Senior Airman Ceaira Tinsley / US Air Force)

Today at least 68 countries operate the C-130 in its military role, logging more than 22 million flight hours, according to statistics from Lockheed Martin. There are even a few civilian operators like Lynden Air Cargo from the United States and Safair from South Africa. Sixteen nations choose to newest model, the C-130J Super Hercules, for their nation’s air arms. More than 100 different variants of the C-130 have been made.

C-130 First Flight

The characteristic sound of the Herc’s four Allison T56 engines have been with us ever since 23 August 1954, when prototype YC-130 took off from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California, to land at Edwards Air Force Base roughly an hour later. Since then the C-130 has been developed into not only a tactical airlifter, but flying weather stations, air tanker, airborne gunship, reconnaissance aircraft and (combat) rescue machine.

Adore the Hercules

Let’s give a big applause to the men and women who designed, made, fly, service or just adore the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules … wherever they are with some historic Hercules images (below).

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): Airman 1st Class Jonathan Marquez, 71st Rescue Squadron crew chief, marshals in the HC-130J Combat King II on 11 December 2015 at Moody AFB (Image © Senior Airman Ceaira Tinsley / US Air Force)

Belgian Air Component Lockheed C-130H Hercules of the 20 Smaldeel performing a fly-by of Kleine Brogel Airbase during the 2001 Tiger Meet. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Belgian Air Component Lockheed C-130H Hercules of the 20 Smaldeel performing a fly-by of Kleine Brogel Airbase during the 2001 Tiger Meet. (Image © Marcel Burger)
A pair of American C-130Hs and crew on Eindhoven Airbase, the Netherlands in September 2014 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A pair of American C-130Hs and crew on Eindhoven Airbase, the Netherlands in September 2014 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The humidity of the air is clearly visible in this picture, nice special effect on this French Air Force C-130. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
The humidity of the air is clearly visible in this picture, nice special effect on this French Air Force C-130. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A view from the top of a Austrian C-130 Hercules.(Image © Elmer van Hest)
A view from the top of a Austrian C-130 Hercules.(Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Bangladesh Air Force C-130E landing at Zia International Airport near Dhaka (Image (CC) Faisal Akra)
A Bangladesh Air Force C-130E landing at Zia International Airport near Dhaka (Image (CC) Faisal Akra)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules in mid-air (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules in mid-air (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules tactical transport aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at the Royal Netherlands Air Force Airshow in 2004, Volkel AB. Aircraft G-275 seen here in the original camouflage livery of the early years of its service life with the RNLAF (Image © Marcel Burger)
Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules tactical transport aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at the Royal Netherlands Air Force Airshow in 2004, Volkel AB. Aircraft G-275 seen here in the original camouflage livery of the early years of its service life with the RNLAF (Image © Marcel Burger)
Lockheed Tp 84 Herkules (C-130H Hercules) of the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) taxiing to the runway while the Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) PC-7 Team breaks above Linköping-Malmen in 2012. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Lockheed Tp 84 Herkules (C-130H Hercules) of the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) taxiing to the runway while the Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) PC-7 Team breaks above Linköping-Malmen in 2012. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Lynden Air Cargo Lockheed L100-30 landing at Ramstein Airbase, Germany in 2004 (Image © Marcel Burger)
Lynden Air Cargo Lockheed L100-30 landing at Ramstein Airbase, Germany in 2004 (Image © Marcel Burger)
British paratroopers leaving a RAF Lockheed Hercules above Ginkel Heath, the Netherlands, during the World War 2 Operation Market Garden Commemorative flight in 2003 (Image © Marcel Burger)
British paratroopers leaving a RAF Lockheed Hercules above Ginkel Heath, the Netherlands, during the World War 2 Operation Market Garden Commemorative flight in 2003 (Image © Marcel Burger)
Lockheed C-130 of the Brazilian Air Force at the 2007 RIAT airshow at RAF Fairford (Image © Marcel Burger)
Lockheed C-130 of the Brazilian Air Force at the 2007 RIAT airshow at RAF Fairford (Image © Marcel Burger)
Two CC-130 Hercules aircraft refuel in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, during Operation Nunalivut 2013 (Image © Corporal Pierre Letourneau / DND-MDN Canada)
Two CC-130 Hercules aircraft refuel in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, during Operation Nunalivut 2013 (Image © Corporal Pierre Letourneau / DND-MDN Canada)
The first ever landing of an Argentine Hercules, a C-130E, on Marambio Base permafrost in the Antarctics on 11 April 1970. Earlier attempts on four other days in that month were aborted due to bad weather. The aircraft with registration TC-61 was from 1 Air Brigade, flying in from Río Gallegos, transporting military personnel and 3,500 kilograms of food plus mail. (Image © Fuerza Aérea Argentina)
The first ever landing of an Argentine Hercules, a C-130E, on Marambio Base permafrost in the Antarctics on 11 April 1970. Earlier attempts on four other days in that month were aborted due to bad weather. The aircraft with registration TC-61 was from 1 Air Brigade, flying in from Río Gallegos, transporting military personnel and 3,500 kilograms of food plus mail. (Image © Fuerza Aérea Argentina)
An Afghan Air Force pilot flies a AAF C-130 Hercules during an "advisory mission" with US Air Force airmen from 438th Air Expeditionary Wing/NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan 10 March 2014, over Kabul (Image © Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson / US Air Force)
An Afghan Air Force pilot flies a AAF C-130 Hercules during an “advisory mission” with US Air Force airmen from 438th Air Expeditionary Wing/NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan 10 March 2014, over Kabul (Image © Tech. Sgt. Jason Robertson / US Air Force)
Flightdeck of the Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules. Here a combined US/Canadian crew at work on the runway of Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan (Image © Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez/USAF)
Flightdeck of the Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules. Here a combined US/Canadian crew at work on the runway of Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan (Image © Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez/USAF)
4x6 size An Austrian Air Force Lockheed C-130K Hercules in flight (Image © Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte)
4×6 size An Austrian Air Force Lockheed C-130K Hercules in flight (Image © Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte)
A RoCAF (Taiwanese) C-130H Hercules landing at Chih Hang AFB in 2013 (Image (CC) Xuán Shǐshēng)
A RoCAF (Taiwanese) C-130H Hercules landing at Chih Hang AFB in 2013 (Image (CC) Xuán Shǐshēng)
A CC-130 Hercules takes off into the sunset during Operation Impact on 21 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)
A CC-130 Hercules takes off into the sunset during Operation Impact on 21 February 2015. (Image © OP Impact, DND)

US approves French Super Hercules buy

The US State Departement has approved the sale of two Lockheed Martin C-130J transport and two KC-130J tanker aircraft to France, it reported on Tuesday 10 November. The sale also involves Electronic Countermeasure Dispensers, Missile Warning Systems, Radar Warning Receivers plus communication and navigation equipment. Estimated worth: 650 million USD.

The C-130J Super Hercules aircraft will provide critical transport, airdrop, and resupply to French troops in support of current and future operations. The tanker will provide an air refueling capability to France’s fighter aircraft, light transport aircraft, and helicopters, the State Departement says.

The French interest in additional Hercules aircraft came to light earlier this year, following the fatal crash of an Airbus A400M, the new transport aircraft that also sees operation in France. The country also already operates C-130H and CN-235 transporters.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A French Air Force C-130H. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Australian Props in Red Flag combat

For the first time ever the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) participates in the multi-national, US hosted large-scale combat exercise Red Flag with its Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and a Lockheed AP-3C Orion.

Having committed its fighter jets before the RAAF is keen on exposing its large propeller plane crews to a modern war scenario. “There are few training environments in the world that recreate the dangers of a modern battlespace like Exercise Red Flag,” RAAF’s Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull says in an Australian Defence Force’s press release.

Two C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond (NSW), an AP-3C Orion from RAAF Base Edinburgh (SA) and an Air Battle Management contingent from 41 Wing are participating in the Red Flag 2015-1, alongside combat aircraft from the United States and the United Kingdom. As many of our readers know, base of operations is Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

A F-15C Eagle (background) from the United States Air Force 65th Aggressor Squadron taxies past a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion from No. 10 Squadron (foreground) on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA (Image ©  Mr Eamon Hamilton  / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A F-15C Eagle (background) from the United States Air Force 65th Aggressor Squadron taxies past a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion from No. 10 Squadron (foreground) on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

“Day-time and night-time missions at Red Flag will require large numbers of aircraft to work together across a variety of roles to defeat threats. The dangers they face range from aggressor F-15 and F-16 fighters and simulated missile shots, through to electronic warfare and cyberspace attacks,” Vice-Marshal Turnbull adds.

While the Hercules’s will train in tactical airlift flying in a war zone, the AP-3C Orion crew will focus on overland surveillance of the combat area. The Nevada desert ranges are even somewhat similar to the current environment the RAAF is facing in real-life over the Middle East fighting ISIS in Iraq. Moreover, the RAAF crews deployed to Nellis bring along experience from Operation Slipper over Afghanistan.

Exercise Red Flag 15-1 continues until 13 February 2015, with 150 RAAF personnel participating.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information provided by Australia, Department of Defence
Featured image (top): A RAAF C-130J Hercules at Nellis during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Related: ↑ Photo Essay: RAAF wages war against ISIS
AND ↑ Photo Special: RAAF Hornets during Red Flag 14-1

A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron taxies back to its parking position on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image ©  Mr Eamon Hamilton  / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron taxies back to its parking position on the flightline at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron conducts an 'initial and pitch' bank over Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image ©  Mr Eamon Hamilton  / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron conducts an ‘initial and pitch’ bank over Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, following a mission during Exercise Red Flag 15-1 (Image © Eamon Hamilton / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)