Cold War Era

“Operation Credible Sport” YMC-130H going to museum

YMC-130H transport aircraft were three modified Lockheed Hercules Aircraft for Top Secret “Operation Credible Sport”, for second Iran hostage crisis rescue attempt

According Tampa Bay Times, one of the three YMC-130H transport aircraft that was modified for the Iran hostage crisis is going to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum in New York.

The fuselage left Robins Air Force Base in Georgia and will be assembled at the museum in September.

YMC-130Hs were three modified Lockheed Hercules Aircraft for Top Secret “Operation Credible Sport”, for second Iran hostage crisis rescue attempt.

One of the measures considered for a second hostage rescue attempt in Iran was a project to develop a “Super STOL” aircraft, to be flown by Combat Talon crews, that would use a soccer stadium near the U.S. Embassy as an improvised landing field. Called Credible Sport, the project acquired three C-130H transports from an airlift unit in late August 1980, one as a test bed and two for the mission, and modified them on an accelerated basis.

Designated as the XFC-130H, the aircraft were modified by the installation of 30 rockets in five sets: eight firing forward to stop the aircraft, eight downward to brake its descent rate, eight rearward for takeoff assist, four mounted on the wings to stabilize them during takeoff transition, and two at the rear of the tail to prevent it from striking the ground because of over-rotation. Other STOL features included a dorsal and two ventral fins on the rear fuselage, double-slotted flaps and extended ailerons, a new radome, a tailhook for landing aboard an aircraft carrier, and Combat Talon avionics, including a TF/TA radar, a defensive countermeasures suite, and a Doppler radar/GPS tie-in to the aircraft’s inertial navigation system.

Of the three aircraft, only one received full modification. The program abruptly ended when it crashed during testing on Oct. 29, 1980, and international events soon after rendered another rescue attempt moot: the planned rescue in fact was terminated when an agreement to release the hostages was signed in January 1981.

The following famous video shows YMC-130H crashing during flight tests.

Photo credit: US Dept. of Defense

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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