The US Air Force will take delivery of its first HC-130J combat rescue tanker later this year, with the aircraft having emerged at Lockheed Martin’s
Pictured leaving the main assembly building ahead of painting, the aircraft will soon enter production flight testing, says Lockheed.
“The HC-130J will meet an initial operating capability date in mid-2012,” it adds.
© Lockheed Martin
The USAF’s Air Combat Command has ordered its first two of a planned 18 HC-130Js, and will also acquire 26 MC-130J tankers, as listed in Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database.
Lockheed began assembly work on the first HC-130J last October, with the aircraft intended to support future search and rescue operations by the USAF. With an increased maximum take-off weight of over 74t, the variant also features an improved wing design.