Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks

Aviation / Aerospace

Lockheed MC-130J Commando II

Special Forces In-Flight Refueler / General Transport Aircraft [ 2011 ]

The Lockheed MC-130J is an in-flight refueling platform intended for Special Forces operations.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/08/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Lockheed MC-130J "Commando II" is an in-flight refueling platform of the United States Air Force, intended to refuel helicopter and tilt-rotor units of Special Operations Forces(SOF). The MC-130J is an offshoot of the long-running Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" transport and retains much of the form and function of its original design. The MC-130J has introduced Head-Up Displays (HUDs) for the pilot positions, an all-glass cockpit, new turboprop engines and air-refueling pods as part of its modification. The Commando II is specially designed for low-altitude operations over enemy territory and is typically flown as a night intruder to keep a low profile and increase crew survivability. The USAF expects to stock some 37 MC-130J units by the end of 2017 while the MC-130J line is to replace the aged stock of MC-130E and MC-130P aircraft. First delivery of the J-model was in 2011 to Cannon AFB of New Mexico.

Beyond its refueling capabilities, the MC-130J can also be called on to resupply SOF forces and also extract / airdrop combat elements and needed supplies. It retains the cargo hauling capability of the C-130 as well as its rear-mounted powered door. The high-wing design provides excellent control at low altitudes and low speeds while also allowing for rough-field landings when required. The heart of the C-130 design is Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) and the MC-130J keeps this quality available. For its primary refueling role, MC-130J is outfitted with four underwing pods, two to each wing and set between the two engines per wing.

The MC-130J is typically crewed by five to include two pilots, a Combat Systems Officer (CSO) and a pair of Loadmasters for cargo management. The cockpit provides access to thirteen full-color Multi-Function Display (MFD) units as well as a digital autopilot feature. A color radar aids in mission awareness as does a digital Moving Map Display (MMD). Internal systems have been improved over previous C-130 iterations in the way of deicing units, fuel efficiency and general cargo management. GPS navigation, as well as inertial navigation, are standard as is an Electro-Optical / Infrared (EO/IR) system. Voice and data are transmitted and secured through a SATCOM arrangement.

Dimensions of the MC-130J include a wingspan of 132 feet, 7 inches, a length of 97 feet, 9 inches and a height of 38 feet, 10 inches. Maximum take-off weight is 164,000 lbs.

Key to the success of the newer MC-130J is its 4 x Rolls-Royce AE-2100D3 turboprop engines. These drive six-blade composite propellers at 4,590 shaft horsepower. Combined with its robust airframe, the Commando II can reach speeds of 415 miles per hour up to a ceiling of 28,000 feet. Range is listed at 3,000 miles, giving the Commando Ii a broad reach for special forces missions.

The MC-130J Commando II has already seen combat operational service with special forces elements since its introduction.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

May 2020 - An MC-130J Commando II aircraft was used during in-air tests / evaluations by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) to release (simulated) cruise missiles from the rear-facing cargo ramp.

July 2020 - Sierra Nevada has been given a $700 million USD contract related to the development of radio frequency-based countermeasures for the MC-130J Commando II and AC-130J Ghostrider special mission platforms.



Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States

In Active Service.


National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
Aerial Refueling (Tanker)
Dedicated or converted airframe used to deliver fuel to awaiting allied aircraft.
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Special Forces
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.

97.8 ft
(29.80 m)
132.5 ft
(40.40 m)
38.9 ft
(11.85 m)
Empty Wgt
85,980 lb
(39,000 kg)
164,024 lb
(74,400 kg)
Wgt Diff
+78,044 lb
(+35,400 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Lockheed MC-130J Commando II production variant)
Installed: 4 x Rolls-Royce AE-2100D3 turboprop engines developing 4,590 horsepower.
Max Speed
416 mph
(670 kph | 362 kts)
28,002 ft
(8,535 m | 5 mi)
3,001 mi
(4,830 km | 8,945 nm)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Lockheed MC-130J Commando II production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)

Supported Types

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
MC-130J "Commando II" - Base Series Designation
C-130J-SOF - Special Operationa platform being offered for export.

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 Ukranian-Russian War
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

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Front view of an MC-130J Commando II; Image courtesy of the USAF.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-