Personnel recovery aircraft
US Air Force, US Coast Guard
Maximum Take-off Weight
HC-130J Combat King II is a personnel recovery / combat search and rescue aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin. It is an extended-range variant of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The HC-130J is currently operated by the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) of the US Air Force and the US Coast Guard.
The HC-130J aircraft can conduct personnel recovery operations, command and control missions, helicopter aerial refuelling and forward area ground refuelling missions. The aircraft can conduct recovery operations in severe environments. It is also capable of making tactical flight manoeuvres, while avoiding detection by hostile forces.
USAF and USCG contracts
The USAF placed an order with Lockheed Martin for the delivery of 11 HC-130J Combat King II aircraft in mid-2008. The first aircraft was handed to the USAF ACC in September 2010. The AETC received the first HC-130J in September 2011. Two more aircraft were delivered in November 2012. The sixth aircraft was delivered to the ACC in December 2012.
In October 2012, the USCG placed a $218m contract with Lockheed Martin for three additional HC-130Js, bringing the USCG fleet of HC-130Js to nine. The contract also includes delivery of two mission suites to complement the search and rescue operations of the USCG. The deliveries are scheduled for early 2015.
HC-130J development and design
The HC-130J Combat King II was developed as a dedicated personnel recovery platform as part of the HC/MC-130 recapitalisation programme to replace ageing HC-130P/N aircraft of the ACC. The HC-130J completed its maiden flight in July 2010.
The first HC-130J Combat King II aircraft was rolled out in April 2010. The developmental testing of the HC-130J was concluded in March 2011. The mission capability of the aircraft was certified by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Centre in November 2012.
The HC-130J is designed based on the KC-130J tanker aircraft used by the US Marine Corps. The baseline KC-130J is converted into HC-130J with very minimal modification. The HC-130J incorporates advanced navigation and detection systems.
The aircraft has a length of 29.5m, wingspan of 40.4m and a height of 11.5m. The maximum take-off weight of the aircraft is 74,389kg. The fuel capacity of the aircraft is 34,159L. The aircraft can carry a payload of 15,875kg.
Cockpit, avionics and refuelling systems
The crew of the HC-130J includes a pilot, co-pilot, a combat systems officer and two enlisted load-masters.
The night vision goggle (NVG) compatible cockpit houses a fully integrated digital avionics suite incorporating head-up displays (HUD) and multifunctional displays (MFD) for flight control and navigation.
The HC-130J also incorporates inertial navigation system (INS), global positioning system (GPS), forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and satellite and data-burst communications.
The HC-130J Combat King II is equipped with refuelling pods on under-wing pylons and additional internal fuel tanks for conducting in-flight refuelling of helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft. It can be used for aerial refuelling of up to two rotorcraft simultaneously at night. The aircraft can also participate in forward area refuelling point (FARP) missions in support of joint and allied forces.
The aircraft is fitted with a universal aerial refuelling receptacle slipway installation (UARRSI) for conducting in-flight refuelling with boom-equipped tanker aircraft.
Countermeasures on Lockheed Martin’s aircraft
The HC-130J Combat King II integrates modern threat detection and countermeasures equipment, such as a radar warning receiver, missile warning receiver and chaff and flare dispensing system.
Combat King II engines and performance
The power-plant of HC-130J consists of four Rolls Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engines coupled to four Dowty six-bladed propellers. Each engine generates a thrust of 4,591shp. The operation of the engines is controlled by a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system.
The HC-130J Combat King II has a maximum speed of 316kt. It can fly at a maximum altitude of 33,000ft. The aircraft has a maximum range of 3,478 nautical miles.
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