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Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

Tactical Medium Transport Aircraft

Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

Tactical Medium Transport Aircraft


A plethora of Western powers and American allies have taken on the improved Lockheed C-130J Super Hercules platform.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1999
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Lockheed Martin - USA
OPERATORS: Australia; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Canada; Denmark; Egypt; France; Germany (ordered); India; Indonesia (announced); Iraq; Israel; Italy; Kuwait; Libya; Norway; Oman; Saudi Arabia; South Korea; Tunisia; Qatar; United Kingdom; United States

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 97.77 feet (29.8 meters)
WIDTH: 132.55 feet (40.4 meters)
HEIGHT: 38.88 feet (11.85 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 75,563 pounds (34,275 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 164,024 pounds (74,400 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engines developing 4,637 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 416 miles-per-hour (670 kilometers-per-hour; 362 knots)
RANGE: 2,072 miles (3,335 kilometers; 1,801 nautical miles)
CEILING: 28,264 feet (8,615 meters; 5.35 miles)


Series Model Variants
• C-130J "Super Hercules" - Base Series Designation.
• C-130J - Base Production Model
• C-130J-30 - Stretched fuselage version (15ft added length).
• C-130J SOF - Special Forces model for export; unveiled at Paris Air Show 2017.
• CC-130J "Super Hercules" - Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAAF) version of the C-130J-30.
• EC-130J "Commando Solo III" - Spec Ops version
• HC-130J "Combat King II" - Long-range maritime patrol and Search/Rescue platform for USCG.
• KC-130J - Aerial tanker model for USMC.
• MC-130J "Commando II" - Spec Ops version
• WC-130J - Weather reconnaissance platform.
• Hercules C.Mk 4 - British RAF version of the C-130J-30 model.
• Hercules C.Mk 5 - British RAF version of the C-130J model.
• LM-100J - Civilian market version of the C-130J-30 model.
• SC-130J "Sea Hercules" - Proposed maritime patroller based on the C-130J; Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability.
• C-130J Mk.4 - UK RAF designation for C-130J


Detailing the development and operational history of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Tactical Medium Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 11/25/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
During the Cold War period (1947-1991), one of the most important aircraft to emerge from the West became the Lockheed C-130 "Hercules", a medium-class tactical transport utilizing a high-wing layout and quadruple engine arrangement for excellent Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities. Entering service in the 1950s, the type has managed over 2,500 examples into the current decade and remains one of the more reliable and popular transport systems operating anywhere in the world - by airpowers both big and small.

By the 1990s the Hercules was still rooted in its 1950s technology for the most part and a large-scale upgrade of the series was deemed the best effort to keeping the series air worthy for the foreseeable future (the C-130 has been continuously flying for over sixty years!) - especially in dealing with a modern, digitally-driven battlefield. From this initiative arrived the C-130J "Super Hercules", a vastly upgraded version of the aging C-130 line. A first-flight was had on April 5th, 1996 and service introduction followed in 1999. To date (2017), over 300 of the type have been produced and these stock some of the largest modern air services like that of Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

While the C-130J retains the same general form and function of its predecessor, it incorporates a slew of modern systems and technologies to make for an improved end-product. One of the more major upgrades is the switch to 4 x Rolls-Royce AE2100 D3 series turboprop engines driving multi-bladed Dowty composite propeller blades. Internally, the cockpit sports a collection of digital displays and fast-processing systems. Head-Up Displays (HUDs), typically seen in combat fighter aircraft, are installed ahead of each pilot's position. Automation is expanded where possible to alleviate mission fatigue and reliance on additional crewmembers for basic tasks - this make a typical flight crew just three personnel to include two pilots and a dedicated loadmaster.

The cargo, accessed via a rear loading ramp under the empennage, hold can carry up to 92 traditional passengers or 64 combat-equipped paratroopers. In the MEDEVAC role, this same space can sustain up to 74 patient litters and accompanying medical staff numbering five. Six pallets of cargo can be hauled or, it their place, three HUMVEE vehicles or a single LAV-25 (or similar) armored combat vehicle. it is this sort of versatility that had garnered the Hercules family line such global recognition.

Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules (Cont'd)

Tactical Medium Transport Aircraft

Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules (Cont'd)

Tactical Medium Transport Aircraft

Dimensions include a length of 97.8 feet, a wingspan of 132.6 feet and a height of 38.9 feet. Empty weight is 75,560lb against an MTOW of 164,000lb. Performance includes a maximum speed of 417mph, a cruising speed of 400mph, a range out to 2,070 miles and a service ceiling up to 40,400 feet (absolute). The C-130J requires just 3,130 feet of runway distance to take-off with a 155,000lb gross weight load.

Compared to the earlier C-130 transport models, the J-model is both faster and flies farther while also requiring much shorter runway travel. Its improved technology means better flow with existing digital communications and satellite equipment being deployed by modern air powers.

The launch customer for the J-model became the British Royal Air Force (RAF) which committed to 25 of the type. The series also serves American special forces and other special mission-minded groups of the United States military. Both the USAF and USMC have operated the J-model in the American commitments over Afghanistan and Iraq.

Variants include the base C-130J airlifter, the stretched C-130J-30 and the C-130J-SOF, the latter an export-minded special operations product. The CC-130J is the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAAF) mark covering the C-130J-30 in service. The C-130J forms the framework of other well-known, in-service Hercules marks like the EC-130J Commando Solo III specops variant, the HC-130J Combat King II USCG Search and Rescue (SAR) model, the KC-130J aerial tanker, the MC-130J Commando II specops model (formerly "Combat Shadow II") and the WC-130J weather reconnaissance platform. The British Royal Air Force recognizes the C-130J-30 as the Hercules C.Mk 4 and the C-130J becomes the Hercules C.Mk 5.

The LM-100J is the civilian market form of the C-130J-30. The SC-130J Sea Hercules is a proposed maritime patroller based on the C-130J.


August 2017 - Bahrain has purchased two ex-Royal Air Force (United Kingdom) C-130J models.

October 2017 - France and Germany are working together to form a joint transport unit consisting of the C-130J model. This fleet is set to become active sometime in 2021 with logistical commitments shared between the two European powers. This group will include a pair of KC-130J aerial tanker aircraft and be based on French soil.

January 2018 - France has received its first C-130J platform from the United States. Four examples, purchased through the 2016 budget, will be acquired by the European power.

May 2018 - The United States State Department has approved the sale of six C-130J Super Hercules units to the nation of Germany. These will be delivered in transport and aerial tanker guises and fill the gap created by Airbus A400M transport delays.

June 2018 - It was announced that Indonesia has committed to the purchase of five C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. These are set to replace five aging C-130B models currently in service.

August 2018 - It was announced that the Indonesian C-130J aircraft will not be delivered until late-2019 / early-2020.

November 2018 - Bangladesh has received one of two former British RAF C-130J transport platforms.

November 2018 - Bahrain has received the first of two former British RAF C-130J transport platforms.

General Assessment

Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (416mph).

Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (300)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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