C-130 Hercules

C-130 Hercules
Georgia is home to one of the most versatile and rugged transport aircraft ever built: the C-130 Hercules. First flown in 1954, more than 2,200 of the aircraft have been produced in seventy different versions for sixty different countries. The latest model, the C-130J, remains in production at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta.
With a wide fuselage, distinctive high tail, and multiwheeled landing gear, the C-130 can operate from virtually any runway, including rough dirt airstrips. Equipped with skis, C-130s regularly fly supply missions to Antarctica, and in an unusual test, a modified C-130 once landed on and took off from an aircraft carrier. Beyond its role as a versatile cargo and troop transport, C-130s are used as bombers, cannon-firing gunships, hurricane hunters, aerial refueling tankers, air ambulances, firefighters, and even aerial sprayers. A commercial version, known as the L-100, has also been produced.
The four-engine C-130 Hercules began after World War II (1941-45) with a government specification for a new type of cargo aircraft designed for rapid loading and unloading of soldiers, cargo, and vehicles, including helicopters. The aircraft's high tail allows room for a large cargo door that lowers to form a ramp. With a length of 97 feet and wingspan of 132 feet, the C-130J can carry up to 46,631 pounds. In troop transport configuration, it can accommodate 92 combat troops or 64 paratroopers. The aircraft can fly up to 2,729 miles and has a maximum speed of 417 miles per hour.
Though the C-130J in production today resembles the C-130A that went into service in 1956, there are dramatic differences. The newest model relies heavily on computers and electronic displays. Its four Rolls-Royce turboprop engines turn six-bladed propellers that deliver significantly more power than earlier engines, allowing it to fly and climb faster, cruise at higher altitudes, and carry a larger payload.
More than 145 C-130s were used in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s. During the war against terrorism in Afghanistan (2001- ), C-130s again played a key role, with the gunship AC-130 model used for close support of ground troops.
Perhaps the most unusual mission ever envisioned for the aircraft involved modification of a C-130H to include downward-facing and forward-facing rockets that would have allowed it to land and take off almost like a helicopter. Had the plan been carried out, the aircraft would have landed and taken off inside a Tehran, Iran, soccer stadium to rescue U.S. hostages.
In the United States C-130 aircraft are used by the U.S. Air Force, the Air National Guard, the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and other government agencies. If the C-130J in production at the start of the twenty-first century provides a service life equivalent to earlier models, the C-130 design will be flying well into the 2030s, more than seventy years after it first left the drawing board.


Cite This Article
Toon, John D. "C-130 Hercules." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 17 July 2018. Web. 28 July 2021.
From Our Home Page
Tidal Marshes

Almost a third of the Atlantic Coast's tidal salt marshes are located in Georgia's Lower Coastal Plain, as are

Ponce de Leon Ballpark

Ponce de Leon Ballpark in Atlanta was one of the nation's finest

Mary E. Hutchinson (1906-1970)

Mary E. Hutchinson practiced as a professional artist in New York and

Americus Movement

Following the Albany Movement of 1961-62, civil rights activism in Geor

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries