Lockheed C-130 "Hercules"
Lockheed C-130 "Hercules"
Military Transport Aircraft
Unit Cost
US$ 66.5 million
Main Operator
United States Air Force
Number Built
2,262 (2006)
Click here for all pictures of the C-130 currently available

Lockheed C-130 Program Milestones
Maiden Flight
August 23, 1954
December 1956
First User
United States Air Force

Lockheed C-130 Aircraft Dimensions
Wing Span
132 feet 7 inch (40.4 m)
97 feet 9 inch (29.8 m)
38 feet 3 inch (11.6 m)
Wing Area
1,745 sq ft

Lockheed C-130 Weights & Capacity
Empty Weight
83,000 lb (38,000 kg)
Maximum Take-off Weight
155,000 lb (70,300 kg)
Airborne Troops
Litter Patients

United States Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules
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United States Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules

Lockheed C-130 Powerplants
4 x Allison T56-A-15
4,300 shp

The photo above displays part of the prominent rocket-powered C-130T, named Fat Albert, and is the support aircraft for the US Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. At some air shows where the Blue Angels are active, Fat Albert takes part, performing fly-by's and in some cases demonstrates its Jet-Assisted Take-off (JATO) capability.

Lockheed C-130 Performance
Service Ceiling
33,000 ft (10,000 m)
Maximum Design Speed
379 mph (610 km/h)
Cruise Speed
336 mph (540 km/h)
2,050 nm (3,800 km)

Lockheed C-130 Designations
US Air Force
C-130, AC-130, DC-130, EC-130, HC-130, JC-130, LC-130, MC-130, NC-130, RC-130 and WC-130
US Navy
C-130, DC-130, EC-130 LC-130 and TC-130
US Marine Corps
US Coast Guard
C-130, EC-130 and HC-130
Canadian Forces
CC-130 and CC-130T
Hercules C. Mk 1K, C. Mk 1 P, W. Mk 2 and C. Mk 3P
T.10, TK.10 and TL.10
Tp 84
Lockheed C-130 "Hercules"
The Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" is four engined military transport aircraft used mainly for tactical airlifting for many military forces worldwide. In December 2006, the C-130 became the fourth aircraft to mark 50 years of continuous service with its original primary customer (United States Air Force), joining the English Electric Canberra, B-52 Stratogortress and Tupolev Tu-95.

The C-130 is capable of operating from unprepared airfields and both taking-off and landing on short runways. Although the aircraft was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation and cargo transport aircraft, the versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling and aerial firefighting.

United States Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules
United States Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Royal Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules
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Click for a large image
Click for a large image

On February 2, 1951, the United States Air Force issued a GOR, or General Operating Requirement, for a new transport aircraft to Boeing, Douglas, Fairchild, Lockheed, Martin Company, Chase Aircraft, Airlifts Inc, North American and Northrop. As the Korean War began in June, 1950, the Air Force noticed that WW II-era transport were inadequate for modern warfare and needed despirately needed replacement. This replacement would have a capacity for 92 passengers or 64 paratroopers, a range of approximately 1,100 nautical miles, short take-off and landing capability, and the ability to fly with one inoperative engine.

The contest between the aircraft manufacturers was a close affair between the lighter of two Lockheed proposals and a four-turboprop Douglas design. Eventually, Lockheed won the contract for the now-designated Model 82 on July 2, 1951.

Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" Program
With Lockheed having won the contract, work began on the construction of two prototypes. The first flight was performed by the second of the two prototypes and was piloted by Stanley Beltz and Roy Wimmer. After a satisfying 61-minute flight, the YC-130 (as it was designated) landed safely again at Edwards Air Force Base, California, were it awaited further tests.

The newly designed aircraft exceeded all goals by cruising faster, higher, and landing on less runway than required in any of the Air Force specifications. The C-130 had a maximum payload of 40,000 pounds, which was made possible in part by weight control measures that kept the airframe weight down to 108,000 pounds, 5,000 less than anticipated.

Lockheed decided to move the C-130 program to Marietta, Georgia, after the Air Force issued a contract for the first seven production aircraft. Shortly after its first successful flight, the Air Force increased its production order from seven to 75 aircraft. Although the first production aircraft suffered a mishap, having a major in-flight fire in its No. 2 engine nacelle on its third flight, production of the aircraft went smoothly. The aircraft landed safely, its left wing was replaced and saw service again during the Vietnam War.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules entered the Tactical Air Command (TAC) fleet on December 9, 1956, with the delivery of 55-0023 to the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing at Ardmore Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Also because of its surplus take-off power, the aircraft was in favor of many crews as it was far nimbler than the C-119s. Deliveries to the TAC continued on a regular basis, and C-130 units, the 463rd and the 314th TCW formed an important part of the composite Air Strike Force.


Wherever the C-130 went, it brought new standard of performance along with vastly improved comfort and reliability. Shortly after its introduction C-130s were called on to fly troops, weapons, and ammunition to trouble spots around the world.

Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" Production
After its introduction in the mid-1950s, the C-130 has gone through several improvement programs. The following overview gives an insight in some of the most important versions build for Air Forces around the world.

C-130A & C-130B

As said earlier, after the completion of two prototypes, production moved to Marietta, Georgia, where more than 2,000 C-130s have been built. The initial production model, the C-130A, was powered by four Allison T56-A-9 turboprop engines, each having three bladed. Deliveries of the type began in December 1956 and continued until the introduction of the C-130 B mdoel in 1959. Some of the older generation C-130As were re-designated C-130D after being equipped with skis and rockets for Jet-Assisted Take-off (JATO). The newer C-130B production aircraft had ailerons with more boost as well as uprated engines and four-bladed propellers that were standard until the late 1990s.


The C-130E is an extended range version of the C-130 and entered service in 1962. The increased range was achieved by additional fuel tanks under each wing that were capable of carrying 5,150 liters of fuel, and wing-mounted auxiliary fuel tanks. Furthermore, the C-130E is fitted with more powerful Allison T-56-A-7A turboprops and features structural improvements, an upgraded avionics package and a higher gross weight.



The C-130H model has updated Allison T56-A-15 turboprops, a redesigned wing, updated avionics and other minor improvements. H model designs remained into production until 1996 and has been used intensively by the United States Air Force.


The equivalent model for export to the UK is the C-130K, known by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as the Hercules C.1. The C-130H-30 is a stretched version of the original Hercules, and was achieved by adding a 100-inch plug aft of the cockpit and an 80-inch plug at the rear of the fuselage. A single C-130K model was purchased by the Met Office for use by its Meteorological Research Flight. The aircraft was heavily modified to the extent that it was given the designation W.2, to differentiate it from the ordinary C.1. In 2001 the aircraft, called Snoopy, was withdrawn from service.


The newest model of the C-130 series is the C-130J Super Hercules. The aircraft is externally similar to the classic Hercules in general appearance, but in fact is a very different aircraft one might expect. Difference include the installation of new Rolls-Royce Allison AE2100 turboprops with six-bladed composite scimitar propellers, digital avionics (including Head-Up-Displays), reduced crew requirements, and increased aircraft reliability together with lower operating costs. The C-130J is available in both a standard-length and stretched 30 variant. The Royal Air Force launched the aircraft by ordering 25 aircraft with first deliveries starting in 1999 as Hercules C. Mk4 and Hercules C. Mk 5.