C-130J Super Hercules
Quick Links: News | Images | Videos | Specs | Sources | Bottom
The latest C-130 to be produced, the C-130J entered the inventory in February 1999. With the noticeable difference of a six-bladed composite propeller coupled to a Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engine, the C-130J brings substantial performance improvements over all previous models, and has allowed the introduction of the C-130J-30, a stretch version with a 15-foot fuselage extension.
Designed specifically as a multi-role, multi-mission aircraft, the C-130J is equally at home for both tactical and a large range of strategic missions. Similar in appearance to earlier models of the Hercules, the C-130J is virtually an all-new aircraft. Major improvements include a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled digital flight deck.
The flightdeck features two head-up displays (HUDs), four large multi-function displays, five monochrome displays and fighter-style controls on the control columns. This glass cockpit technology also includes an automatic flight control system, autothrottle, head down display, traffic collision avoidance system, ground collision avoidance system and a stick pusher to prevent inadvertent aircraft stall. Integrated navigation equipment provides the pilots with an automatic navigation solution from the inertial navigation system and global positioning system as well as regular ground-based navigation aids.
This increase in automated control has allowed the minimum crew to be reduced from five in the C-130H to just three (two pilots and a loadmaster) in the J, removing the requirement for a Flight Engineer and Navigator.
New, more 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.
With proven military durability and reliability, the C-130J is at least 15% more fuel-efficient 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.
Air forces currently operating the C-130J are the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the Royal Danish Air Force, the United States Air Force, the United States Air National Guard and Reserve, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Marine Corps.
The RAF, as lead customer for the new aircraft, has taken delivery of twenty-five C-130Js. The first was delivered to RAF Lyneham in November 1999. The last was delivered on 21st June 2001. Two variants were ordered: 10 standard C-130J aircraft; and 15 ‘stretched’ C-130J-30s. The latter are 180 inches longer and have an increased load carrying volume within a comfortable payload of over 40,000lbs. The RAF trains its C-130J crews in a purpose-built school house, which was also supplied by Lockheed Martin. This contains two full motion dynamic mission simulators. Since entering service, the RAF's C-130Js have been used in a variety of operational missions including action in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
British industry participation in the world-wide C-130J programme is substantial. The supply chain for C-130J regularly extends to some 150 UK companies, contributions to the programme being made from all sectors of the aerospace industry from SME’s to the largest multi-nationals. UK-owned companies provide over 20% of the value of each C-130J that rolls off the production line. The UK C-130J Industrial Participation programme has to date provided approximately £1billion of business to UK Aerospace and Defence contractors, supporting in excess of 18,000 man years of employment.
Collectively, the UK industrial team is known as the UK C-130J Industrial Support Group and includes companies such as Rolls-Royce (engines), GKN Westland Aerospace (engine nacelles), Goodrich (digital engine controls) and Smiths Aerospace, including Dowty Propellers (power generation and distribution propellers). Over £740M in C-130J-related business has been placed directly with Lockheed Martin' s British industrial partners and suppliers to date. Further sales will increase this figure.
Other air forces currently operating the C-130J are the Royal Australian Air Force, the Italian Air Force, the Royal Danish Air Force, the United States Air Force, the United States Air National Guard and Reserve, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Marine Corps. To date, 180 aircraft have been ordered and over 120 delivered. The market forecast for additional worldwide C-130J sales over the next 20 years is in excess of 300 aircraft.
The Lockheed C-130J entered service with the Royal Australian Air Force in 1999, replacing the ageing C-30E fleet that had served since 1966. Operated by No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Richmond, approximately 50 kms north-west of Sydney, the C-130J is the most comprehensive update of the Hercules aircraft with a new two-crew flight compartment and turbo-prop engines that drive six-blade propellers. The RAAF currently operates 12 C-130J's.
In 2001, the US Air Force contracted Boeing to upgrade hundreds of its C-130E and C-130H aircraft under the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP). Besides upgrading the E and H versions, the Air Force planned to acquire up to 168 newer, more-capable C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to fill out the ranks of its tactical airlift inventory.
Since then, however, the combat experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq have modified the Air Force's thinking, as have shifting budget priorities. The service now wants a smaller sized intra-theater cargo hauler, dubbed the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA), to support troops in austere forward areas as a complement to the Hercules fleet. It is working with the Army to acquire this aircraft jointly. Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley said the Air Force could buy between 100 and 150 of them, according to Defense Daily. Additionally, the projected size of the C-130J fleet has shrunk to just 79 aircraft. This may grow somewhat, however, since the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) is beginning to express an interest in acquiring the aircraft instead of upgrading older C-130s, according to the senior officials.
C-130J offered for Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA)
In June 2006, Lockheed Martin offered the short-fuselage variant of the C-130J for the Joint Cargo Aircraft Program.
"Our C-130J solution meets or exceeds all JCA performance requirements and provides a solid cornerstone for the transformation of the Army’s fixed wing fleet,” said Rob Weiss, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics vice president for business development.
Specifications & Performance problems
In late July, 2004, the Pentagon's inspector general issued a 34-page report that substantiated the allegation that the C-130J aircraft does not meet contract specifications and therefore cannot perform its operational mission. Because the Air Force has already payed more than 99% of the aircraft's contracted delivery price, the Government fielded C-130J aircraft that cannot perform their intended mission, which forces the users to incur additional operations and maintenance costs to operate and maintain older C-130 mission-capable aircraft because the C-130J aircraft can be used only for training.
The Pentagon plans to save more than $5 billion by ending the C-130J program in fiscal 2007 and scrapping the purchase of 63 aircraft that was planned through 2011. The FY 2006 budget proposed to end production of the Air Force's C-130J at 53, rather than the 168 originally projected. At $66.5 million, Secretary Rumsfeld said that the aircraft had become increasingly expensive to build and to maintain, especially given the ability to modernize existing C-130s. An Air Force report to Rumsfeld concluded that it would cost nearly as much to cancel the commercial contract - about $1.78 billion - as it would to complete it. That finding prompted Rumsfeld to reverse course, according to The Washington Post.
In June 2006, it became apparent that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld relied on faulty data when he saved the C-130J Hercules from cancellation the year before. According to a report by the Pentagon inspector general a poorly written contract it to blame for the for keeping the transport plane alive. The new report said the Air Force may have overstated the cost of canceling the contract by as much as $1.1 billion, the Washington Post reported.
The program has also been under scrutiny because the Air Force is buying the planes with a commercial contract, which does not require Lockheed to provide complete pricing and cost data, including its profit margin. Afterfacing criticism from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Air Force said it would restructure the contract.Version C-130J
Length 97.9 ft || 29.3 m
Height 38.8 ft || 11.84 m
Wingspan 132.6 ft || 40.41 m