C-130J Super Hercules
C-130J Super Hercules
There is no aircraft in aviation history — either developed or under development — that can match the flexibility, versatility and relevance of the C-130J Super Hercules.
Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hercules is the world’s most advanced tactical airlifter. Designed and developed with mission versatility in mind, the C-130J has a unique mix of agility and performance to consistently execute high-tempo operations efficiently and reliably.
As a legacy operator of C-130s, the Royal Air Force (RAF) knew first-hand the power and capability that only a Hercules can provide. In 1998, the RAF had the distinction of being the first C-130J Super Hercules operator in the world, ushering in a new chapter in an already prolific Hercules history
One Herc, Many Missions
A trademark differentiator found in all Hercs is the platform’s multiple capabilities. To date, C-130s have been produced or modified to support almost 100 different mission requirements — from acting as a flying hospital to delivering commercial freight to providing humanitarian support in dire circumstances. It’s been said that when you buy a Hercules, you get an air force. The C-130 continues to prove this sentiment true time and time again.
Like the Hercs that came before it, the C-130J Super Hercules exemplifies this hallmark trait and, to date, has been produced or modified to support 17 different mission variants. No other tactical airlifter in production or operation can match this platform flexibility.
With unmatched capability and mission versatility, the Royal Air Force C-130Js stand ready to go where others can't, won’t and don’t. Today, the C-130J is primarily a combat delivery platform. In the future, it can expand its mission set to include deep penetration of RAF Special Forces, tactical Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and even possibly Maritime Patrol and Anti-Submarine Warfare.
An All-New Hercules
Similar only in appearance to earlier models of the legacy Hercules, the C-130J is an all-new aircraft. Major improvements include a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled digital flight deck designed for two-pilot operation and equipped with twin mission computers. Powerful, digitally-controlled Rolls-Royce engines, fitted with Dowty Aerospace advanced technology six-bladed composite propellers, enable the C-130J to fly much further, faster and higher than previous models. The C-130J is also the world’s first military transport aircraft to have a head-up display certified as the primary flight instrument for all stages of flight, and is the only airlifter with the range and flexibility for emerging theaters and evolving concepts of operation. This tactical transport aircraft has already proven itself in multiple missions, many in the harshest operating conditions possible.
With proven military durability and reliability, the C-130J is 40 percent more fuel-efficient, offers 21 percent more speed and has a 40 percent greater cruising altitude than previous models. In addition, improved technologies drastically reduce the requirements for maintenance and logistic support. The substantially lower through-life costs of owning and operating the C-130J make it the natural choice for any air force demanding an affordable multi-role transport capability.
A Proven Asset for the UK
The RAF has a total of 24 C-103J aircraft, which are used primarily for operational missions involving parachute ops and air dispatch. British industry participation in the world-wide C-130J programme is substantial, with an extensive supply chain extending from principle first tier suppliers such as Rolls-Royce (engines), GKN Aerospace (engine nacelles), Goodrich (Digital engine controls) and GE Aviation/Dowty Propellers (propellers and instrumentation) to niche SMEs.
Lockheed Martin also supports the RAF C-130J fleet through its role with the Hercules Integrated Oparational Support (HIOS) programme. HIOS is lead by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, with Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce providing specific support.
The three companies have been working together on the HIOS programme since 2006 and the HIOS contract was recently extended by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide support until 2022. More than a thousand jobs will be sustained by this additional investment.
Most of the work will be undertaken by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group at its Cambridge site with additional work on the AE 2100 engines carried out by Rolls-Royce in Bristol, Brize Norton and
Indianapolis, U.S. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the C-130J Super Hercules, manages the HIOS supply chain with a UK team based in Havant, Hampshire, providing subcontract support for supply, IT and field technical support services.
Close collaboration between the MoD, RAF and industry has increased availability of the C-130 to carry troops, supplies and equipment in support of operations across the world by a third while also delivering cost savings of around 20 percent. This means the RAF now has more aircraft to support humanitarian operations such as the recent floods in Nepal, contingency operations like Op SHADER as well as routine supply missions to overseas bases. The recent Strategic Defence and Security Review announced that the C-130 aircraft will be upgraded and extended in service until 2035.