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Lockheed Martin KC-130

Lockheed Martin KC-130

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The Lockheed Martin KC-130 is the basic designation for a family of the extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

 transport aircraft modified for aerial refuelling. The KC-130J is the latest variant operated by the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, with 38 delivered out of 47 ordered. It replaced older KC-130F and KC-130R variants, while USMC reserve units still operate 28 KC-130T aircraft.

Development


The KC-130F made its first test flight in January 1960 as the GV-1 under the old Navy designation system. First entering service in 1962, the KC-130F was designed to undertake aerial refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 missions in support of USMC aircraft. It was developed from the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

The newest Hercules, the KC-130J, shares 55 percent of the same airframe as preceding models, but in fact is a greatly improved airplane. It is based on the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules and provides significant increases in operational capability and performance margins over preceding KC-130F/R aircraft. Additionally, The KC-130J reduces cost of ownership through system reliability and reduced maintenance man-hours per flight hour.

The new HC-130J combat rescue tanker and MC-130J special operations tanker are both derived from a KC-130J baseline.

Technological development has led to the incorporation of interior/exterior night vision lighting, night vision goggle head-up displays, global positioning system, and jam-resistant radios. Some KC-130s are also equipped with defensive electronic and infrared countermeasures systems.

Design



The KC-130 is a multi-role, multi-mission tactical tanker/transport which provides the refueling support required by the USMC for its aircraft. This versatile asset provides in-flight refueling to both tactical aircraft and helicopters within a 500 nautical miles (926 km) operating radius, as well as rapid ground refueling when required. Additional tasks performed are aerial delivery of troops and cargo, emergency resupply into unimproved landing zones within the objective or battle area, emergency medical evacuation, tactical insertion of combat troops and equipment, and evacuation missions.

KC-130J


The KC-130J offers a 57,500-pound fuel offload capacity using wing and external tanks while in the air. The KC-130 is equipped with a removable 3,600-gallon aluminum fuel tank that is carried inside the cargo compartment providing additional fuel when required. The aircraft is ready to fuel fixed or rotary-wing aircraft using the standard probe and drogue.

The two wing-mounted hose and drogue refueling pods (made by Sargent Fletcher
Sargent Fletcher
Sargent Fletcher is a subsidiary company of Cobham plc. which makes aircraft equipment, including aerial refueling systems, external fuel tanks, and special purpose pods.-History:Sargent Fletcher was founded in 1940, and bought by Cobham in 1994....

) each transfer up to 300 gallons per minute to two aircraft simultaneously allowing for rapid cycle times of multiple-receiver aircraft formations (a typical tanker formation of four aircraft in less than 30 minutes). When more fuel is needed, an additional 24,392 pounds of fuel can be offloaded from a specially configured internal fuselage tank. The system also functions without the fuselage tank, so the cargo compartment can be used for cargo on the same mission, giving the aircraft even greater flexibility.

The KC-130J provides for the rapid ground refueling of helicopters, vehicles and fuel caches at 4,018 pounds per minute. The aircraft has a unique propeller feathering feature (known as “hotel mode”) which can slow (25% rotation speed) the propellers while the turbines continue to run and pump fuel. This reduction of the propellers speed helps to eliminate prop wash behind the KC-130J. This allows ground forces to operate in relative calm while the aircraft offloads up to 600 gallons per minute.

The U.S. Marine Corps has chosen the KC-130J tanker to replace its aging KC-130F tanker fleet. The new KC-130J offers increased utility and much needed improvement in mission performance. As a force multiplier, the J-model tanker is capable of refueling both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft as well as conducting rapid ground refueling. The refueling speed envelope has been widened from 100 to 270 knots (529.2 km/h) indicated airspeed, offering more capability and flexibility. Offload rates per refueling pod can be up to 300 gallons per minute simultaneously. The KC-130's offload is significantly greater than previous Hercules tankers. As an example, at 1,000 nautical miles (1,852 km), the fuel offload is well over 45,000 pounds (20,412 kg). Rapid ground refueling is also a premium capability. In austere conditions, the KC-130J can refuel helicopters, vehicles, and fuel caches at 600 gallons per minute. Additionally, the unique prop feathering capability while the engines are still running offers safer and more hospitable conditions for ground refueling than in the past.

Harvest HAWK


With the addition of the Marine Corps's ISR / Weapon Mission Kit, the KC-130J will be able to serve as an overwatch
Overwatch
In modern warfare, overwatch is the state of one small unit or military vehicle supporting another unit, while they are executing fire and movement tactics. An overwatching, or supporting unit has taken a position where it can observe the terrain ahead, especially likely enemy positions. This...

 aircraft and can deliver ground support fire in the form of Hellfire
AGM-114 Hellfire
The AGM-114 Hellfire is an air-to-surface missile developed primarily for anti-armor use. It has multi-mission, multi-target precision-strike capability, and can be launched from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms. The Hellfire missile is the primary 100 lb-class air-to-ground precision...

 or Griffin
Griffin (missile)
The Griffin is a short-range air-to-surface missile developed by Raytheon for UAVs. It is tube-launched, with a 5.5 inches diameter, weighs 45 pounds, and has a semi-active laser seeker. It has a 13-lb warhead, smaller than the Hellfire typically used by armed UAVs, which has the effect of reducing...

 missiles, precision-guided bombs
Precision-guided munition
A precision-guided munition is a guided munition intended to precisely hit a specific target, and to minimize damage to things other than the target....

, and eventually 30mm cannon fire in a later upgrade. This capability, designated as "Harvest HAWK" (Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit), can be used in scenarios where precision is not a requisite, such as area denial
Area denial weapons
An area denial weapon is a device used to prevent an adversary from occupying or traversing an area of land. The specific method used does not have to be totally effective in preventing passage as long as it is sufficient to severely restrict, slow down, or endanger the opponent...

.

The AN/AAQ-30 Targeting Sight System (TSS) integrates an infrared and television camera, and is mounted under the left wing's external fuel tank. It is the same TSS used on the upgraded AH-1Z Viper
AH-1Z Viper
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the United States Marine Corps. The AH-1Z features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. The AH-1Z is part of the...

 attack helicopter
Attack helicopter
An attack helicopter is a military helicopter with the primary role of an attack aircraft, with the capability of engaging targets on the ground, such as enemy infantry and armored vehicles...

 and UH-1Y Venom
UH-1Y Venom
The Bell UH-1Y Venom is a twin-engine medium size utility helicopter, part of the United States Marine Corps' H-1 upgrade program. The helicopter is also called Yankee for its variant letter....

. The typical loadout is four Hellfire missiles and 10 Griffin GPS guided missiles. The weapons systems operator uses a Fire Control Console mounted on a standard cargo pallet in the KC-130J’s cargo compartment.

The aircraft retains its original capabilities in refueling and transportation. The entire system can be removed in less than a day if necessary. The USAF MC-130W Dragon Spear program uses a similar concept.

The USMC plans to acquire three kits per active-duty KC-130J squadron for a total of nine kits, each costing up to . It was first test flown on August 29, 2009 by VX-20
VX-20
VX-20, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Twenty, is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.-Operations:...

, and first deployed in October 2010 with VMGR-352
VMGR-352
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 , 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

.

Operational history



The KC-130 has supported operations in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

,the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 for Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and other USMC operations over the last fifty years.

VMGR-252, Cherry Point, NC, was the first fleet squadron to transition to the KC-130J. Contrary to most military squadrons when they transition to a new aircraft, VMGR-252 did not "stand down" to train and equip for the new airframe. Quite the contrary, they continued full time fleet support with their "legacy" Hercs until fully converted to the J model. This trend was continued by squadrons as they transitioned to the KC-130J.

In February 2005, VMGR-252 made the first operational combat deployment of the KC-130J when six aircraft were deployed to Al Asad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this time VMGR-252 experienced many "firsts" with the new J model conducting aerial refueling, delivery of cargo and passengers, the first combat aerial delivery of supplies by any J model user (the USAF subsequently conducted aerial delivery in Afghanistan with their new J models later that year) and battlefield illumination. VMGR-252 maintained the sole KC-130J presence for a year while VMGR-352 took delivery of and transitioned to the J model. The semi-permissive threat environment and the state of the art defensive systems of the J model permitted it to operate over the battlefield, providing fuel for the jets close to the fight, verses the tanker being far behind the lines in relative sanctuary. On more than one occasion VMGR-252 aircraft came under fire from insurgents, as did VMGR-352 aircraft during subsequent deployments to Iraq.

In 2006, VMGR-252 and 352 shared a joint detachment in Iraq and this paradigm continued for a number of years. In the summer of 2006, VMGR-252 provided a two KC-130J detachment in support of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (24MEU) to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus during the Lebanon/Israeli conflict that summer. Also during this time VMGR-252 began extensive operational training and tactics development with the new MV-22 Osprey, refining long range tanker procedures with the new tilt-rotor aircraft.

In Spring 2008, VMGR-252 again made KC-130J history by providing the KC-130J aircraft detachment to 24MEU as they reestablished the USMC presence in Kandahar, Afghanistan. This deployment experienced numerous great KC-130J successes conducting all manner of expeditionary type missions routinely landing at austere dirt runways, tactical aerial delivery of goods, and the traditional logistic support and refueling missions that are the hallmark of USMC KC-130 support.

Though the USMC KC-130J's have left Iraq, a continuing KC-130J presence has now been maintained in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, with aircraft and crews provided by both VMGR-252 and 352 during different periods. In May 2009, the Okinawa based "SUMOS" of VMGR-152 provided two aircraft and crews to support the OEF presence. This was VMGR-152's first operational combat deployment since Vietnam, and they have been maintaining a continuing presence in Afghanistan with VMGR-352/252.

USMC KC-130J aircraft from VMGR-252 and 352 have additionally been deployed to Djibouti for operations in the Horn of African supporting counter-terrorist operations in the region.

After the 2010 Pakistan floods
2010 Pakistan floods
The 2010 Pakistan floods began in late July 2010, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan and affected the Indus River basin. Approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was underwater, approximately...

, KC-130Js from USMC VMGR-352
VMGR-352
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 , 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

 squadron delivered over 200,000 pounds of cargo across Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in support of flood relief efforts.

The Harvest Hawk weapons system for USMC KC-130J aircraft began its first deployment during October 2010 in Afghanistan with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352
VMGR-352
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 , 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

). Its first weapons engagement was on November 4 supporting the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines
3rd Battalion 5th Marines
3rd Battalion 5th Marines is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps. The battalion, nicknamed "Dark Horse", is based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and consists of approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors...

 in Sangin. One Hellfire missile was fired and five enemy insurgents were killed. The battle damage assessment stated there were no civilian casualties or property damage during the fire fight.

A KC-130J from the 26th MEU participated in a pilot rescue during Operation Odyssey Dawn
Operation Odyssey Dawn
Operation Odyssey Dawn was the U.S. code name for the US part of the international military operation in Libya to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. during the initial period of 19–31 March 2011, which continued afterwards under NATO command as Operation Unified Protector...

.

Variants


KC-130B
Six C-130B models were modified into in-flight refueling tankers. 4 currently operating with the Republic of Singapore Air Force
Republic of Singapore Air Force
The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command...

 (all four to be upgraded to KC-130H standard), 2 with Indonesian Air Force
Indonesian Air Force
The Indonesian Air Force is the air force branch of the Indonesian National Armed Forces.The Indonesian Air Force has 34,930 personnel equipped with 110 combat aircraft including Su-27 and Su-30.-Before Indonesian independence :...

.

KC-130F:
Enhanced KC-130B, 46 built

KC-130H
Tanker variant of C-130H, 33 built

KC-130R
14 former USAF aircraft transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps.

KC-130T
Variant from C-130H, 28 built

KC-130J
Variant from C-130J

Operators



- Argentine Air Force
Argentine Air Force
The Argentine Air Force is the national aviation branch of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic. , it had 14,606 military and 6,854 civilian staff.-History:...

  • 1st Air Transport Squadron - El Palomar Air Base KC-130H


- Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Air Force
The Brazilian Air Force is the air branch of the Brazilian Armed Forces and one of the three national uniformed services. The FAB was formed when the Army and Navy air branch were merged into a single military force initially called "National Air Forces"...

  • 1º/2ºGT (1º Esquadrão do 2º Grupo de Transporte) - Galeão Air Force Base
    Galeão Air Force Base
    Galeão Air Force Base – BAGL is a base of the Brazilian Air Force located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is named after Praia do Galeão , located in front of the original passenger terminal of the airport and presently the passenger terminal of the Brazilian Air Force...

    , Two KC-130H


- Canadian Forces Air Command
Canadian Forces Air Command
The Royal Canadian Air Force , formerly Canadian Forces Air Command, is one of three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

  • 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron operates 5 KC-130H as CC-130H


- Indonesian Air Force
Indonesian Air Force
The Indonesian Air Force is the air force branch of the Indonesian National Armed Forces.The Indonesian Air Force has 34,930 personnel equipped with 110 combat aircraft including Su-27 and Su-30.-Before Indonesian independence :...

  • Skadron Udara 32 operates 2 KC-130B


- Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

  • 103 "Elephants" Squadron
    103 Squadron (Israel)
    The 103 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Elephants Squadron, is a C-130E and KC-130H squadron based at Nevatim Airbase.-References:...

     at Nevatim KC-130H
  • 131 "Yellow Bird" Squadron
    131 Squadron (Israel)
    The 131 Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, also known as the Yellow Bird Squadron, is a C-130E and KC-130H squadron based at Nevatim Airbase.-References:...

     at Nevatim KC-130H


- Italian Air Force
Italian Air Force
The Italian Air Force has gone under different names in different periods:*Regia Aeronautica , from 1923 to June 1946*Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, the air force of Italian Social Republic during World War II...

  • 46 Brigata Aerea, 2 Gruppo - Pisa-San Giusto operates 7 C-130J converted to KC-130J, 1 lost to crash


- Kuwait Air Force
Kuwait Air Force
The Kuwait Air Force is the air arm of the State of Kuwait. The Air Force headquarters is located at Al Mubarak Air Base, with the remaining forces stationed at Air Defence Brigade, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base...

  • 3 KC-130J on order with an option to purchase three more


- Royal Moroccan Air Force
Royal Moroccan Air Force
The Royal Moroccan Air Force is the air force branch of the Moroccan Armed Forces.-History:...

  • Operates 2 KC-130H aircraft


- Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
The Royal Saudi Air Force , is the aviation branch of the Saudi Arabian armed forces. The RSAF has developed from a largely defensive military force into one with an advanced offensive capability...

  • 32 Sqn based at Prince Sultan Airbase (KC-130H)


- Republic of Singapore Air Force
Republic of Singapore Air Force
The Republic of Singapore Air Force is the air arm of the Singapore Armed Forces. It was first established in 1968 as the Singapore Air Defence Command...

  • 122 Squadron operates 4 KC-130B, 1 KC-130H. Will be upgraded by ST Aerospace
    ST Aerospace
    Singapore Technologies Aerospace is a subsidiary of ST Engineering based in Singapore, with international offices and facilities located in key aviation hubs in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the US...

    , with a new glass cockpit
    Glass cockpit
    A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, as opposed to the traditional style of analog dials and gauges...

    , avionics suite, and flight management system
    Flight management system
    A flight management system is a fundamental part of a modern airliner's avionics. An FMS is a specialized computer system that automates a wide variety of in-flight tasks, reducing the workload on the flight crew to the point that modern aircraft no longer carry flight engineers or navigators. A...

      which will make the aircraft Global Air Traffic Management
    Global Air Traffic Management
    Global air-traffic management is a concept for satellite-based communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management. The Federal Aviation Administration and the International Civil Aviation Organization, a special agency of the United Nations, established GATM standards to keep air...

    -compliant. The KC-130Bs will also receive an auxiliary power unit
    Auxiliary power unit
    An auxiliary power unit is a device on a vehicle that provides energy for functions other than propulsion. They are commonly found on large aircraft, as well as some large land vehicles.-Function:...

     and environmental control system
    Environmental Control System
    The environmental control system of an aircraft provides air supply, thermal control and cabin pressurization for the crew and passengers...

    s in common with C-130Hs.


- United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...


Active duty squadrons:
  • VMGR-152
    VMGR-152
    Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 provides aerial refueling service to support Fleet Marine Force air operations; and provides assault air transport of personnel, equipment, and supplies. The squadron, known as the "Sumos", flies the fixed-wing KC-130J aircraft...

     KC-130J operates 15 KC-130J
  • VMGR-252
    VMGR-252
    Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 14 , 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

     KC-130J operates 12 KC-130J
  • VMGR-352
    VMGR-352
    Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 is a United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 , 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force air operations in...

     KC-130J operates 14 KC-130J

Reserve squadrons:
  • VMGR-234
    VMGR-234
    Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234 is a reserve United States Marine Corps KC-130T squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 41 , 4th Marine Aircraft Wing and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Marine Forces Reserve air operations...

     operates 14 KC-130T
  • VMGR-452
    VMGR-452
    Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 is a reserve United States Marine Corps KC-130T squadron. They fall under the command of Marine Aircraft Group 49 and the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing...

     operates 14 KC-130T


- United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

  • VX-20
    VX-20
    VX-20, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Twenty, is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.-Operations:...

     operates 1 KC-130J for testing and evaluation, 2 KC-130F and 2KC-130R for transport
  • VX-30 operates 3 KC-130F for transport

Specifications (KC-130J)


See also


External links