Wing completes aircraft modernization with arrival of eighth C-130J Super Hercules

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Dale Greer
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 123rd Airlift Wing welcomed its eighth C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on Aug. 25, completing the unit’s transition from legacy C-130H transports.

The wing had been flying H models since 1992. It said farewell to the last of those on Sept. 24, 2021, and began receiving new J models from Lockheed-Martin Corp. on Nov. 6.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the latest version in the Air Force arsenal, with modern instrumentation, more efficient engines and a stretched fuselage for additional payload capacity. It is among the most versatile aircraft ever built, supporting a broad range of missions from special operations to air cargo with capabilities that allow it to land on austere runways where other airlifters can’t go.

The wing’s commander, Col. Bruce Bancroft, said that extra payload capacity is significant.

“The C-130J has often been referred to as the stretch model,” Bancroft noted. “This means there are two additional pallet positions for equipment on top of the six pallet positions that are normally associated with what we refer to as legacy C-130s. So what's the big deal about two more pallet positions? Well, that's thousands of pounds of additional combat resupply equipment for our warfighter on every single sortie.

“That's thousands of pounds of additional food, water, shelter, blankets and relief equipment on every single sortie for our citizens who have been displaced from their homes due to hurricanes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes — citizens whose worlds have been turned upside down; are cold, tired and hungry, and can't afford to wait. The C-130J delivers the capability to meet that immediate need, be it across the Commonwealth, across the nation or across the ocean.

“With a total payload of over 44,000 pounds, six-bladed composite propellers, a maximum speed of 410 miles an hour, and a capacity for 97 litters of medical evacuees, 128 combat troops or 92 paratroopers, the C-130J truly defines superiority in tactical airlift. A digital avionics cockpit, liquid crystal displays, heads-up displays and state-of-the-art navigational equipment will directly impact the effectiveness, efficiency, situational awareness and safety of our aircrews, all resulting in an increased ability to answer our nation's call day or night, any place, any time.”

All eight of the wing’s former H-model aircraft were transferred to the 166th Airlift Wing at the Delaware Air National Guard.