July 29, 2010 (by Jonathan Somerville) - The first HC-130J combat rescue tanker destined for the Air Force has made its maiden flight, according to Lockheed Martin.
USAF's first HC-130J flew for the first time on 29 July 2010. [photo by Todd R. McQueen]
The aircraft took to the skies July 29 from the company's assembly plant in Marietta, Georgia. It is scheduled for delivery to Air Combat Command in September, after completing flight tests, says Lockheed. This airframe rolled off Marietta's production line in April. The Air Force is buying HC-130Js to replace its fleet of 40-year-old HC-130s. ACC is expected to begin operating the HC-130Js in 2012. They are an enhanced version of the KC-130J tankers that the Marine Corps operates. Expected to be called Combat King II aircraft.