The Lockheed HC-130J "Combat King II" is a long-range Search and Rescue (SAR)/aerial refueling platform utilized by the United States Air Force (USAF) and is based on the modified KC-130J aerial refueler. It is intended as the successor to the HC-130P and HC-130N models and continues the popular line of high-wing transports begun with the classic Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" model. The Combat King II is used in the recovery of allied personnel through advanced onboard systems and robust Short Take-Off and Landing functionality as well as rough field operations.
First flight of a prototype was recorded on July 29th, 2010. Operational capability was achieved during 2013.
The Combat King II retains the same basic design arrangement as the C-130 and incorporates mission equipment for its given role. This includes an improved navigation system and onboard countermeasures suite while threat detection is also augmented from previous offerings. The aircraft is also plumbed to deliver fuel to other airborne elements and its cargo hold served in the airdrop role as directed. The HC-130J combines the services of the HC-130/MC-130 lines - both related to the original C-130 in a modern military end-product. It is typically operated in night time hours to minimize its profile against ground-based fire and launched missile threats.
Power for the model is served through 4 x Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engines set in pairs across either wing element. Each engine produces approximately 4,590 shaft horsepower affording the aircraft an operating weight near 89,000lbs and a maximum take-off weight of 164,000lbs. Maximum speed is about 365 miles per hour with a range beyond 4,000 miles. Service ceiling is listed as 33,000 feet.
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April 2020 - The United States Air Force Reserve has taken delivery of its first HC-130J "Combat King II" aircraft. This example will be operated by the 920th Rescue Wing of Patrick Air Force Base in Florida.
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