Lockheed Martin has announced at Farnborough that the stretched version of the C-130J which will now form the bulk of the USAF's orders for the type will in future be known as the CC-130J. It previously used the designation C-130J-30.


The basic C-130J is the latest version of the Hercules – the aircraft which has had the world's longest production run, and is widely regarded as the benchmark tactical transport aircraft.

Lockheed claims that the CC-130J has 50% more capability than the ‘heritage Hercules'. The J model first flew in 1996, and was delivered to the Royal Air Force, the launch customer, in August 1998.

The C-130J adds dual-redundant, fully-digital avionics, integrated diagnostics, an advanced two-man glass cockpit, carbon fibre flaps, some graphite epoxy wing panels, advanced composite propellors and more powerful new generation engines. The aircraft can be delivered with a newly-designed, computer-controlled enhanced cargo handling system, and with comprehensive modern defensive systems.

After some early avionics integration issues and delivery delays, the C-130J has rapidly become the airlifter of choice for many roles, and although there is some resistance to the two-man cockpit concept in some tactical roles, the aircraft is gaining favour from its operators.

With 90 in-service C-130Js having amassed some 50,000 flying hours, the aircraft is in relatively widespread service and is performing well, while the US Air Force is committed to long term procurement of the type.

The C-130J forms the basis of a number of specialised sub-variants, including the weather reconnaissance WC-130J, the USMC KC-130J tanker, the psychological warfare/electronic combat EC-130J, and a specialised variant for the US Coast Guard.

Two aircraft recently delivered to the California Air National Guard are expected to be converted to fire-bombing configuration, using a new mission system developed by Aero Union.

Lockheed believes there is an immediate requirement for increased tanker capacity for the US Special Forces, and that an HC-130 version of the J would fit the bill well. In the longer term, the company is in discussions about a possible future requirement for AC-130J gunship and MC-130J Special Forces insertion roles.

Source: Flight Daily News