Airplanes Online Home Page

C-130 Hercules Transport

C-130 Hercules Design & Mission

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin.

Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft.

C-130 Model Evolution

C-130E Hercules, S/N 63-7868 at Robins AFB
C-130E Hercules, S/N 63-7868, Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia (Staff Photo)

Four decades have elapsed since the U.S. Air Force issued its original design specification, yet the C-130 remains in production.

The initial production model was the C-130A, with four Allison turboprop engines. A total of 219 were ordered and deliveries began in December 1956.

The C-130B introduced Allison T56-A-7 turboprop engines and the first of 134 aircraft of this model entered USAF service in May 1959. Introduced in August of 1962, the 389 C-130Es that were ordered used the same Allison T56-A-7 engine, but added two 1,290 gallon external fuel tanks and an increased maximum takeoff weight capability.

In June of 1974, the first of 308 C-130Hs were delivered, with the more powerful Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engine. Nearly identical to the C-130E externally, the new engine brought major performance improvements to the aircraft.

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. The C-130J-30, a stretch version with a 15-foot fuselage extension, increases the capabilities even more.

The Hercules is similar is size and role to the Airbus A400M.

Major C-130 Variants

Model
Purpose
C-130A/B/E/F/G/H/K/T
Tactical Airlifter
C-130J Super Hercules
Tactical Airlifter
AC-130 Spectre/Spooky/Stinger II/Ghostrider
Gunship
EC-130
Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center
KC-130
Aerial Tanker
WC-130
Weather reconnaissance ("Hurricane Hunter")

 

 

C-130 Hercules Deployment

Nose section of the AC-130 gunship at Eglin AFB in Florida
AC-130 gunship, USAF Armament Museum, Eglin, AFB, Florida

Today, the C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.

The C-130 operates throughout the U.S. Air Force, serving with Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Pacific Air Forces, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war situations.

The C-130 is also a key aircraft in the air forces of many allied countries, including France, Egypt, Pakistan, Spain, Kuwait, the UAE and more. (see images below on this page)

C-130 Photos by Airplanes Online

Lockheed C-130 Hercules 51364 of the Texas Air National Guard in Tyler, Texas (Staff Photo)
Lockheed C-130 Hercules on display at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum in Tyler, Texas


Lockheed C-130A Hercules S/N 57-0457, 118th TAW, in Tucson at the Pima Air Museum
Lockheed C-130A Hercules S/N 57-0457, 118th TAW
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526, Hill Aerospace Space Museum, Hill AFB, Ogden, Utah
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526
C-130E Hercules, S/N 621787, on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
C-130E Hercules, S/N 621787, on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio

AC-130 gunship at Eglin AFB in Florida AC-130 gunship at Eglin AFB in Florida
AC-130 gunship at the Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin, AFB, Florida
Nose art on AC-130 "First Lady" at Eglin, AFB, Florida

C-130 aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB AMARG in October, 2012
C-130 aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB AMARG


C-130 Hercules in the Air Forces of the World

C-130s of the U.S. Air Force
C-130J-30 RS 78609 of the United States Air Force, with Tail Code RS, Ramstein AB, Germany (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130J-30 RS 78609 of the United States Air Force, with Tail Code RS, Ramstein AB, Germany
C-130-J30 RS 78613 of the United States Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130-J30 RS 78613 of the United States Air Force
U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules in D-Day paint scheme  in 2019 (left 15736 - right 8609) (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules in D-Day paint scheme U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules in D-Day paint scheme
U.S. Air Force C-130-J30 RS 88603 (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
U.S. Air Force C-130-J30 RS 88603
U.S. Air Force C-130H AFRC 84401 (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
U.S. Air Force C-130H AFRC 84401
U.S. Air Force MC-130J Commando II, S/N 05714 - 2019 (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
U.S. Air Force MC-130J Commando II, S/N 05714

 

C-130s of the French Air Force
C-130H 61-PI of the French Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130H 61-PI of the French Air Force

C-130 Hercules 61-PM of the French Air Force, painted to mark the 30th Anniversary of the C-130 in French service (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130 Hercules 61-PM of the French Air Force, painted to mark the 30th Anniversary of the C-130 in French service C-130 Hercules 61-PM of the French Air Force, painted to mark the 30th Anniversary of the C-130 in French service

C-130 of the Egyptian Air Force
C-130 SU-BAD, 1273, of the Egyptian Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130 SU-BAD, 1273, of the Egyptian Air Force

C-130 of the Belgian Air Force
C-130 CH-07 of the Belgian Air Force (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130 CH-07 of the Belgian Air Force
C-130 CH-07 of the Belgian Air Force C-130 CH-07 of the Belgian Air Force ... 60 years - 15th Wing

C-130 of the Hellenic Air Force
C-130H 752 of the Hellénic Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130H 752 of the Hellénic Air Force

C-130s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force
C-130H Hercules G-988 of the of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130H Hercules G-988 of the of the Royal Netherlands Air Force C-130H Hercules G-988 of the of the Royal Netherlands Air Force


C-130 of the Oman Air Force

C-130J 506 of the Royal Air Force Oman, at LFLX (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130J 506 of the Royal Air Force Oman, at LFLX


C-130 of the Romanian Air Force

C-130H 6166 of the Romanian Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130H 6166 of the Romanian Air Force

C-130 of the UAE Air Force
C-130H of the UAE Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130H of the UAE Air Force

C-130 of the Kuwait Air Force
C-130H30 324 of the Kuwait Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130H30 324 of the Kuwait Air Force

C-130s of the Pakistan Air Force
C-130 171 of the Pakistan Air Force (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130 171 of the Pakistan Air Force
C-130 4153 of the Pakistan Air Force... "Peace Together" (Photo by DELEHELLE Eric)
C-130 4153 of the Pakistan Air Force... "Peace Together"

 

C-130s at Cannon AFB in New Mexico
Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico ... 27th Special Operations Wing
Western Home of America's Air Commandos (Photo by Andrew Hersey)
Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico ... 27th Special Operations Wing
Cockpit area of AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico (Photo by Andrew Hersey)
Cockpit area of AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, on display at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico

 

 

Plaque about the AC-130H Spectre Gunship, Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico (Photo by Andrew Hersey)
Plaque about the AC-130H Spectre Gunship, Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
MC-130E Combat Talon I, S/N 64-0523,at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico (Photo by Andrew Hersey)
MC-130E Combat Talon I, S/N 64-0523, on display at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
C-130 Combat Talon at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, NM (Photo by Andrew Hersey)
C-130 Combat Talon on display at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, New Mexico
C-130J Super Hercules at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, New Mexico (Photo by Andrew Hersey)
C-130J Super Hercules at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, New Mexico