100 Reasons to Celebrate!
On its own, the letter “C” represents many things. It’s the Roman numeral for 100. It also is the designation for a cargo hauler in the aviation world. And, for one specific Super Hercules, the “C” in its designation stands for both 100 and cargo.
Lockheed Martin recently delivered an HC-130J Combat King II personnel rescue aircraft that has the distinction of being the 100th aircraft delivered in support of the U.S. Air Force’s HC/MC-130J recapitalization program. This particular aircraft (Lockheed Martin aircraft #5898) is assigned to Air Force Reserve Command’s (AFRC) 39th Rescue Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.
Through this recapitalization program, Lockheed Martin is delivering MC-130J Commando II aircraft to Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and HC-130J Combat King II aircraft to Air Combat Command (ACC), the Air National Guard (ANG) and AFRC. Both types of aircraft were earlier delivered to Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The first delivery for this program was in 2010 and was an HC-130J assigned to ACC.
Prior to the introduction of the Combat King II, Air Force crews flew HC-130N/P King aircraft. AFSOC crews previously operated MC-130P Combat Shadow/MC-130E/H Combat Talon variants.
Both the HC-130J and MC-130J are based on the KC-130J tanker configuration, which is a short-body airframe. These aircraft offer crews increased power, more speed, added operational efficiencies and unmatched situational awareness along with proven performance and reliability over their legacy aircraft.
The U.S. Air Force Rescue community lives by the motto, "That Others May Live," which reflects the mission of supporting combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. These crews rely on HC-130s to also extend the range of the older HH-60G Pave Hawk and new HH-60W Jolly Green II combat search and rescue helicopters, both of which come from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business in Stratford, Connecticut.
AFSOC crews fly the MC-130J Commando II “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere” in support of clandestine, or low visibility, single or multi-ship, low-level air refueling missions for special operations helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, and infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of Special Operations Forces by airdrop or airland intruding politically sensitive or hostile territories.
As is the case with all C-130s, the HC/MC-130Js can also support other mission requirements, to include transport, cargo delivery, humanitarian assistance operations and disaster response. The Air Force is also converting some MC-130Js to AC-130J Ghostrider gunships, which are highly modified Commando IIs that provide close-air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance.
Lockheed Martin will continue to deliver additional 24 HC/MC-130J aircraft to the U.S. Air Force through its Multiyear III contract that was announced in January 2020.