The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. The C-130 operates throughout the U.S. Air Force, serving with Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Pacific Air Forces, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war situations. Basic and specialized versions of the aircraft airframe perform a diverse number of roles, including airlift support, Antarctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray missions, firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service and natural disaster relief missions.
Using its aft loading ramp and door, the C-130 can accommodate a wide variety of oversized cargo, including everything from utility helicopters and six-wheeled armored vehicles to standard palletized cargo and military personnel. In an aerial delivery role, it can airdrop loads up to 42,000 pounds or use its high-flotation landing gear to land and deliver cargo on rough, dirt strips.
The flexible design of the Hercules enables it to be configured for many different missions, allowing one aircraft to perform the role of many. Much of the special mission equipment added to the Hercules is removable, allowing the aircraft to return to its cargo delivery role if desired. Additionally, the C-130 can be rapidly reconfigured for the various types of cargo such as palletized equipment, floor-loaded material, airdrop platforms, container delivery system bundles, vehicles and personnel or aeromedical evacuation.
Four decades have elapsed since the Air Force issued its original design specification, yet the remarkable C-130 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 adding 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.
Primary Function: Global airlift
Contractor: Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics Company
Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops; 4,591prop shaft horsepower
Length: C-130H: 97 feet, 9 inches (29.3 meters)
Height: 38 feet, 10 inches (11. 9 meters)
Wingspan: 132 feet, 7 inches (39.7 meters)
length, 40 feet (12.31 meters); width, 119 inches (3.Remove 12 meters); height, 9 feet (2.74 meters). Rear ramp: length, 123 inches (3.12 meters); width, 119 inches (3.02 meters)
366 mph/318 ktas (Mach 0.52) at 20,000 feet (6,060 meters)
23,000 feet (7,077 meters) with 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms) payload.
Maximum Takeoff Weight:
155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)
Maximum Allowable Payload:
42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
Maximum Normal Payload:
36,500 pounds (16,590 kilograms)
Range at Maximum Normal Payload:
1,208 miles (1,050 nautical miles)
Range with 35,000 pounds of Payload:
1,496 miles (1,300 nautical miles)
6 pallets or 74 litters or 16 CDS bundles or 92 combat troops or 64 paratroopers, or a combination of any of these up to the cargo compartment capacity or maximum allowable weight.
Crew: Five (two pilots, navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster)
Unit Cost: $30.1, (FY 1998 constant dollars in millions)
Date Deployed: Jun 1974
Inventory (all models): Active force, 145; Air National Guard, 181; Air Force Reserve, 102
(Current as of May 2014)