November 22, 2005 (by Lockheed Martin) - The long-range capabilities of the C-130J Hercules were showcased again this week when an AFRC crew flew nearly 8,000 miles with payload to demonstrate the performance capabilities of the airlifter at the Dubai Air Show.
The crew of the 815th Airlift Squadron, 403rd Wing, from Keesler AFB in Mississippi, left from the Mississippi Delta November 17 for Dubai. The route included a stop in Ramstein AB, Germany, and a nonstop leg of nearly 3,500 miles from Ramstein to Dubai. The C-130J crew is participating in the international air show to promote stronger U.S. ties with regional allies.
"The fact that this reserve crew flew this ‘delta to the desert' mission with payload speaks volumes about the performance capabilities of the C-130J," said Jack Crisler, Lockheed Martin director for Air Mobility Business Development. "The C-130J is now regularly operating in the high altitude and hot conditions in southwest Asia and is proving its worth every day. Airlift or resupply missions in the region that would normally take three aircraft and 18 crewmembers to accomplish now only require two aircraft and eight crewmembers. The C-130J is bringing a whole new capability and level of safety to intra-theater support operations."
C-130J operators from around the world are now operating at a high tempo in both combat and humanitarian relief support operations. The United Kingdom, United States, Italy, Australia and Denmark are all experiencing the high reliability, range, speed and payload capabilities of the C-130J. "With its new and unique performance," said Crisler, "the C-130J has become a vital, affordable transport asset that is being sought by many other countries."
The C-130J holds 54 recognized world aviation records for speed, altitude with payload, and short take-off and landing with payload. Four of those records are held for long distance flights. In February 2000, a Lockheed Martin crew, flying a production standard, unmodified C-130J carried a 34,000-pound payload nonstop and unrefueled from Pope Air Force Base, N.C., to Cambridge, England. This was a distance of 3,916 statute miles at an average speed of 417 mph. In December 1999, a joint Lockheed Martin and Royal Air Force crew flew a new C-130J from Marietta, Ga. to RAF Lyneham, England, - more than 4,127 statute miles at an average speed of 405 mph on a delivery flight.
A total of 180 C-130Js are on order, and more than 130 have been delivered to date. In the U.S., Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard units fly C-130Js. The Marine Corps operates KC 130J tankers and the Coast Guard flies the HC-130J, which saw extensive service during hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief efforts. International C 130J operators include the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Italian Air Force and the Royal Danish Air Force.
Today's C-130J represents a nearly complete reinvention of the C-130 Hercules design. The C-130J, first flown in 1996, has a wingspan of 132 feet — 12 feet longer than the Wright Brothers' first aircraft — a height of 38 feet, and it comes in two lengths. The short fuselage aircraft is 97 feet, the same as all previous models, and the longer aircraft is 112 feet, which allows it to accommodate more payload. The longer aircraft can carry a maximum payload of 47,812 pounds. Maximum range with a 25,000 pound payload is more than 3,700 nautical miles without external fuel tanks.
The 815th Airlift Squadron, known as the Flying Jennies, received its first C-130J, a short-length aircraft in 1999, but is now being equipped with the longer aircraft. Keesler AFB is also home to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. Known as the Hurricane Hunters, this unit flies the WC-130J into hurricanes, recording and sending storm data to ground stations to help make tropical storm predictions of direction and intensity more reliable. This past hurricane season was the first full season the WC-130J was flown into the Atlantic storms.
Dubai 2005, a biennial air show, features more than 700 exhibitors from 46 countries. The show site has more than 376,000 feet of exhibit space as well as purpose-built facilities. Other Lockheed Martin products featured at the show include the F-16 and the T-50 Golden Eagle trainer.