C-130 Hercules

One of the planes that impressed me in my early years, was the C-130 Hercules. I don’t know why, but along with the DC-3 (and the military version C-47) it has always caught my imagination and interest.
The aircraft started production in ’56 after the project was won in the 1950 by Lockheed Martin with the YC-130 prototype. An interesting fact is that this “old girl” is still in production!
Actually it’s still wanted by military air forces around the world including the USAF. And in September 2006 the “headcount” was for 186 planes to be made and delivered! That is simply unheard off, for such an “old plane”, but the secret stands in its oldness. Or lack of it, actually.

Although 50 years have passed since it entered service, the C-130 only resembles the original prototype. Very heavy modifications have been made to it along the years, with the C-130J variant being the model that is in production today (at the end of this post there’s a list of models).

The avionics have been changed, adding sophisticated night-vision equipment and a radar has been fitted in the nose of the plane. The engines have been upgraded, from 4-bladed turboprops to 6-bladed turboprops, each of the four engines developing 4590 HP. The weight of the plane is 79,379 kilos (80 tons) and it can reach a maximum speed of 645 km/h.

The most recent found use for the C-130 Hercules is as a gunship: the AC-130H Spectre. Fitted with a 105mm Howitzer (100 projectiles), a BOFORS 40mm cannon with 256 projectiles and two GAU-12/U 25mm gatling guns with 3000 projectiles, it’s one bad bombardment platform, meant to take the fight to the enemy, and to support ground forces! Its crew is thus composed of a pilot, a copilot, a radar operator, two gunners, three shooters and one unloader. Since this version was put onto the battlefield, it has seen action in the Gulf War, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan and is currently deployed in Iraq, as you can see from this video:




C-130’s splendor in pictures:

Short documentary on the C-130 Hercules:




To get a feeling of the 50 years of service in the US military, take a look at the versions this aircraft has been through in its lifetime:

LOCKHEED YC-130 HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130A HERCULES MEXIC
LOCKHEED C-130A-II HERCULES
LOCKHEED RC-130A HERCULES
LOCKHEED DC-130A HERCULES
LOCKHEED & LTV JC-130A SUPER SPOOKY
LOCKHEED & LTV AC-130A PLAIN JANE
LOCKHEED & LTV AC-130A SURPRISE PACKAGE
LOCKHEED & LTV AC-130A PAVE PRONTO
LOCKHEED GC-130A HERCULES
LOCKHEED JC-130A HERCULES
LOCKHEED NC-130A HERCULES
LOCKHEED TC-130A HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130B-II HERCULES
LOCKHEED JC-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED NC-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED HC-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED SC-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED VC-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED WC-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED GC-130B HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130D HERCULES
LOCKHEED GC-130D HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130E HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130E-I SKYHOOK
LOCKHEED C-130E-II HERCULES
LOCKHEED DC-130E HERCULES
LOCKHEED MC-130E COMBAT TALON I
LOCKHEED EC-130E RIVET RIDERS
LOCKHEED EC-130E COAST GUARD
LOCKHEED EC-130E ABCCC
LOCKHEED EC-130E CORONET SOLO II
LOCKHEED RC-130E HERCULES
LOCKHEED WC-130E HERCULES
LOCKHEED & LTV AC-130E PAVE SPECTRE
LOCKHEED & LTV AC-130E PAVE AEGIS
LOCKHEED C-130F HERCULES
LOCKHEED KC-130F HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130G HERCULES
LOCKHEED EC-130G HERCULES
LOCKHEED DC-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130H STOL HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130H-MP HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130H-30 HERCULES
LOCKHEED HC-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED HC-130H-7 HERCULES
LOCKHEED EC-130H COMPASS CALL II
LOCKHEED MC-130H COMBAT TALON II
LOCKHEED & LTV AC-130H PAVE SPECTRE II
LOCKHEED DC-130H DRONECARRIER
LOCKHEED NC-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED JC-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED JHC-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED VC-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED WC-130H HERCULES
LOCKHEED MARTIN C-130J HERCULES II
LOCKHEED MARTIN C-130J-30 HERCULES II
LOCKHEED MARTIN EC-130J COMMANDO SOLO
LOCKHEED MARTIN WC-130J HERCULES II
LOCKHEED MARTIN C-130J-30 AEW&C HERCULES II
LOCKHEED MARTIN KC-130J HERCULES II
LOCKHEED C-130K HERCULES
LOCKHEED HC-130N COMBAT SHADOW
LOCKHEED JHC-130N HERCULES
LOCKHEED HC-130P COMBAT SHADOW
LOCKHEED MC-130P COMBAT SHADOW
LOCKHEED EC-130Q HERCULES
LOCKHEED KC-130R HERCULES
LOCKHEED LC-130R HERCULES
LOCKHEED RC-130S HERCULES
LOCKHEED CC-130T HERCULES
LOCKHEED KC-130T HERCULES
LOCKHEED & ROCKWELL AC-130U PAVE SPECTRE III
LOCKHEED EC-130V HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130AEW HERCULES
LOCKHEED EC-130ARE HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130AEP HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130-11MP HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-130-30 HERCULES
LOCKHEED C-400
LOCKHEED L-100
LOCKHEED L-100-30 SUPER HERCULES
LOCKHEED HERCULES C Mk1
LOCKHEED HERCULES C Mk1K
LOCKHEED HERCULES C Mk1P
LOCKHEED HERCULES W Mk2
LOCKHEED HERCULES C Mk3
LOCKHEED HERCULES C Mk3P
LOCKHEED MARTIN HERCULES C Mk4
LOCKHEED MARTIN HERCULES C Mk5

5 thoughts on “C-130 Hercules”

  1. served in air force 64-68. flight line mechanic and ground operations crew on the C130’s A,B,C, and E models. live in
    Marietta,Ga. and worked for lockheed for awhile repairing and refurbishing C-130’s. would like to know when the Herk was made into a gunship. had to be after I got out in 68. there is a herky gunship at the museum at Warner Robins afb.

  2. Wayne, Herk was made into a gunship in 1967 and tested in SEA. By Oct. 1968 there was a squadron, 16 SOS, at Ubon, Thailand. I was flying the “Blind Bat” flare mission out of Ubon at the time.

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