C-130 Hercules

The USAF has operated the C-5 since 1969. In that time, the airlifter supported US military operations in all major conflicts including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, as well as allied support, such as Israel during the Yom Kippur War and operations in the Gulf War. The Galaxy has also been used to distribute humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and supported the US space program.

Lockheed: C-130 Hercules

Role Military transport aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Corporation
Lockheed Martin
First flight 23 August 1954; 66 years ago
Introduction December 1956
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
United States Coast Guard
Royal Air Force
Produced 1954–present
Number built Over 2,500 as of 2015
Variants Lockheed AC-130
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules

Lockheed Millitary

C-130H Hercules (1954)

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C-130H Hercules (1954)

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American 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, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. More than 40 variants of the Hercules, including civilian versions marketed as the Lockheed L-100, operate in more than 60 nations.


The new transport would have a capacity of 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or 64 paratroopers in a cargo compartment that was approximately 41 ft (12 m) long, 9 ft (2.7 m) high, and 10 ft (3.0 m) wide. Unlike transports derived from passenger airliners, it was to be designed specifically as a combat transport with loading from a hinged loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage. A notable advance for large aircraft was the introduction of a turboprop powerplant, the Allison T56 which was developed for the C-130. It gave the aircraft greater range than a turbojet engine as it used less fuel. Turboprop engines also produced much more power for their weight than piston engines. However, the turboprop configuration chosen for the T56, with the propeller connected to the compressor, had the potential to cause structural failure of the aircraft if an engine failed. Safety devices had to be incorporated to reduce the excessive drag from a windmilling propeller.

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Lockheed C-130 Hercules (1954)

The first batch of C-130A production aircraft were delivered beginning in 1956 to the 463d Troop Carrier Wing at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma and the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Six additional squadrons were assigned to the 322d Air Division in Europe and the 315th Air Division in the Far East. Additional aircraft were modified for electronics intelligence work and assigned to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany while modified RC-130As were assigned to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) photo-mapping division. The C-130A entered service with the U.S. Air Force in December 1956


  • Crew: 5 (2 pilots, CSO/navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster)
  • Capacity: 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) payload
  • Length: 97 ft 9 in (29.79 m)
  • Wingspan: 132 ft 7 in (40.41 m)
  • Height: 38 ft 3 in (11.66 m)
  • Empty weight: 75,800 lb (34,382 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 155,000 lb (70,307 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines, 4,590 shp (3,420 kW) each
  • Maximum speed: 320 kn (370 mph, 590 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
  • Cruise speed: 292 kn (336 mph, 541 km/h)
  • Range: 2,050 nmi (2,360 mi, 3,800 km)
  • Service ceiling: 33,000 ft (10,000 m) empty23,000 ft (7,000 m) with 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) payload
  • Rate of climb: 1,830 ft/min (9.3 m/s)
  • Takeoff distance: 3,586 ft (1,093 m) at 155,000 lb (70,307 kg) max gross weight;[

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In the 1970s, Lockheed proposed a C-130 variant with turbofan engines rather than turboprops, but the U.S. Air Force preferred the takeoff performance of the existing aircraft. In the 1980s, the C-130 was intended to be replaced by the Advanced Medium STOL Transport project. The project was canceled and the C-130 has remained in production.

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