Lockheed Martin Delivers 2,700th C-130 Hercules Tactical Airlifter

Lockheed Martin Delivers 2,700th C-130 Hercules Tactical Airlifter

By Dario Leone
Jun 19 2024
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2,700th C-130 Hercules Tactical Airlifter delivered

As the photo in this post shows, Lockheed Martin recently delivered the 2,700th Hercules multi-mission tactical airlifter, increasing the size, reach and strength of the worldwide C-130 fleet.

This landmark aircraft is a KC-130J Super Hercules tanker operated by the US Marine Corps Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 at Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Defined by its proven performance and unmatched versatility, operators in 70 nations around the world fly C-130 airlifters to support any mission — anywhere, any time. The current C-130 production model is the C-130J Super Hercules, which includes the KC-130J tactical tanker. To date, the C-130J is certified to support 18 different mission requirements.

“The Lockheed Martin team is honored to deliver this milestone Super Hercules to the US Marine Corps, where it will be part of the largest KC-130J fleet in the world and provide true force amplification across the globe,” said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business, in a company press release. “Not only does this Hercules represent the 2,700th C-130 delivered, but it also reflects the inherent mission and performance adaptability that fuels the C-130’s ongoing relevance.”

The KC-130J

The KC-130J is the global standard for tactical tankers, refueling a majority of rotary wing aircraft in operation today and multiple fixed-wing aircraft including the Lockheed Martin F-35B/C Lightning II fighter aircraft. With its truly tactical design, the KC-130J has the ability to fly at the slow speeds and low altitudes that are ideal when refueling helicopters.

Lockheed Martin Delivers 2,700th C-130 Hercules Tactical Airlifter
2700th C-130 Hercules Delivered

The KC-130J can be configured to provide transport of personnel or cargo. Delivery of cargo may be accomplished in-flight via parachute or by landing. As a tactical transport, the Super Hercules can carry 92 ground troops or 64 paratroopers and equipment. It can also be configured as a medical evacuation platform capable of carrying 74 patients on stretchers and their attendants.

The Hercules

The US Air Force (USAF) issued its original design specification in 1951, yet the remarkable C-130 Hercules remains in production. The initial production model was the C-130A, with four Allison T56-A-11 or -9 turboprop engines. A total of 219 were ordered and deliveries began in December 1956. The C-130B introduced Allison T56-A-7 turboprop engines and the first of 134 entered Air Force service in May 1959.

Introduced in August of 1962, the 389 C-130Es that were ordered using the same Allison T56-A-7 engine, but added two 1,290 gallon external fuel tanks and an increased maximum takeoff weight capability. June 1974 introduced the first of 308 C-130Hs with the more powerful Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engine. Nearly identical to the C-130E externally, the new engine brought major performance improvements to the aircraft.

The latest C-130 to be produced, the C-130J, entered the USAF inventory in February 1999. Always evolving, continually innovating and ready for what’s next, the Super Hercules leads the charge by setting standards and shaping the future of tactical airlift missions — including humanitarian operations around the world. The global C-130J fleet spans 26 operators in 22 nations with 20+ air worthiness certifications. With nearly 3 million flight hours logged across the global fleet of 540+ C-130Js, invaluable insights gained from missions in every scenario equip the C-130J for what’s next.

AC-130U print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. AC-130U Spooky II 1st SOW, 4th SOS, 88-0163

Lockheed Martin Photograph by David L. Key


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
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