C-130 Hercules

RAF Service

The C-130 Hercules is the workhorse of the RAF transport fleet. Over the years it has proved a versatile and rugged aircraft, primarily intended for tactical operations including troop carrying, paratrooping, supply dropping and aeromedical duties. The Hercules can operate from short unprepared airstrips, but also possesses the endurance to mount long-range strategic lifts if required. The aircraft is a derivative of the C-130E used by the United States Air Force, but is fitted with British Avionic equipment, a roller-conveyor sysyem for heavy air drops and with more powerful engines. The crew of five includes, pilot, co-pilot, navigator, air engineer and air loadmaster.

The first Hercules C, Mk.1 (C-130K) entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1967 as a replacement for the elderly piston engined Hastings and Beverley Transports. With the cancellation of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 project in 1965, the UK Ministry of Defence turned to the United States for an aircraft to fullfill the General Transport role, finally placing an order for sixty-six Hercules. The C.Mk.1 entered service with No.242 OCU based at RAF Thorney Island (later moving to RAF Lyneham) in April 1967. Four home based Transport Command squadrons were soon operational (No.24 and 36 Squadrons at Lyneham and No. 30 and 47 squadrons at Fairford) plus a single Far East Unit (No 48 Squadron at Changi) and a Cyprus based unit (No,70 Squadron at Akrotiri being formed in February 1970).

As a troop carrier, the Hercules can carry 92 fully armed soldiers, while for airborne operations 62 paratroopers can be despatched in two simultaneous "sticks" through the fuselage side doors. Alternatively, 40 paratroopers can jump from the rear loading ramp. As an ambulance the aircraft can accomodate 74 stretchers.

Freight loads that can be parachuted from the aircraft include: 16 x 1 ton containers, or 4 x 8,000 lb platforms, or 2 x 16,000 lb platforms, or 1 x 30,000 ib plus. Amongst the many combinations of military loads that can be carried in an air-landed operation are: 3 Ferret scout cars plus 30 passengers or 2 x Land Rovers and 30 passengers or 2 x Gazelle helicopters.

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  • AC-130 (Gunship)
  • EC-130 (Electronic warfare aircraft)
  • EC-130E Commando Solo (Psychological warfare aircraft)
  • HC-130 (Long range search and rescue aircraft)
  • JC-130 (Test aircraft)
  • KC-130J (Tanker)
  • LC-130 (Arctic capability aircraft)
  • MC-130 (Special forces aircraft)
  • NC-130 (Special test aircraft)
  • RC-130 (Reconnaissance aircraft)
  • VC-130 (VIP Transport)
  • WC-130B (Weather reconnaissance aircraft)

See also

Forum topics

External links

Sources (list sources here)

The British Army-aa pocket guide 2002-2003
World Aircraft Information Files

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