MARIETTA, Ga. — Lockheed Martin has displayed a fuzzy image of a whole new version of the 55-year-old C-130 Hercules family tailored to support the needs of special operations forces.
The picture (above) was visible in the bottom-left corner of a briefing slide (below) presented to reporters yesterday, who traveled to Lockheed’s C-130J final assembly line to witness the keel-laying ceremony for the first production HC-130J.
Asked about the blurry concept image, Lockheed officials acknowledged developing plans for a larger version of the Super Hercules. It would feature extra storage capacity to house surveillance equipment and weapons required by special operations forces, who are emerging as a key new customer for Lockheed’s C-130J. The goal is to clean up the C-130′s outer mold line, while still providing special operators with all of their desired payloads.
Lockheed also displayed a slightly different version of a larger C-130 airframe slightly over a year ago. At that time, Lockheed said the enlarged version could be needed to support the US Army’s increasingly heavier ground vehicles, and compete with the Airbus A400M.
After 55 years, a whole new look for the C-130?
By Stephen Trimble on 6 October, 2009 in Uncategorised
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