Lockheed Martin has rolled-out the first MC-130J ordered by the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) ahead of delivery later this year.

The unpainted aircraft rolled out of Lockheed's final assembly plant in Marietta, Georgia on 7 February bearing the C-130's distinctive orange coating for corrosion protection.

Lockheed is scheduled to deliver the first of 15 MC-130Js currently on order to AFSOC in the third quarter.

MC130J 445 
 ©Lockheed Martin
The AFSOC plans to buy as many as 37 MC-130Js to replace several aging airframes, including the MC-130E Combat Talon 1, MC-130P Combat Shadow and the AC-130H Spectre. AFSOC uses such aircraft to insert and support troops clandestinely, flying at low altitude at night.

Lockheed adapted its production line for the MC-130J and HC-130J programmes. Assembly workers now install a system to receive in-flight refuelling on the production line, rather than modifying the aircraft after it exits final assembly.

Source: Flight International