Lockheed Martin has delivered the first two C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) at its facility in Marietta, Georgia, US.

Four C-130J longer fuselage or ‘stretched’ combat delivery variants were ordered by South Korea along with a two-year support package comprising aircrew and maintenance training from Lockheed in February 2010.

The delivery makes South Korea the 14th country to fly the combat proven C-130J Super Hercules family.

Lockheed Martin C-130 Programs vice-president and general manager George Shultz said ROKAF crews have relied on C-130s to support humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in the Pacific Rim region for almost three decades.

"The arrival of South Korea’s new Super Hercules fleet ensures that these critical missions not only will continue, but extend for many more decades the added capabilities only the C-130J can provide," Shultz said.

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Powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines, the C-130J Super Hercules is designed to conduct airborne assault, search-and-rescue (SAR), scientific research support, weather reconnaissance and aerial refuelling, as well as maritime patrol and aerial firefighting missions.

"The delivery makes South Korea the 14th country to fly the combat proven C-130J Super Hercules family."

Capable of accommodating a payload of up to 20t and more than 90 passengers, the aircraft features a glass cockpit, digital avionics and a new propulsion system with a six-bladed propeller.

The aircraft is also in service with air forces in Australia, Canada, Denmark, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, the UK and the US.

South Korea currently operates 12 H-model C-130 transports, including four stretched-fuselage variants, which were delivered between 1987 and 1990, as reported earlier by Flightglobal.

The delivery of remaining two aircraft is expected to take place in June, according to the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration.

Image: A Republic of Korea Air Force’s two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in flight. Photo: © 2014 Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Defence Technology