Lockheed Martin rolled out the first aircraft in a new fleet of MC-130J Combat Shadow IIs for the U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations Command (AFSOC) during a ceremony held on 29 March 2011 in Marietta, Georgia (USA).
Lt. Gen. Donald C. Wurster, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, was the keynote speaker at the event.
“The MC-130J is one of the most versatile tactical airlifters in the world. Its multi-mission capabilities will increase the combat performance of special operations forces worldwide,” Wurster said. “The MC-130J’s advanced sensors, expanded avionics and universal aerial refueling capability will enable the highly skilled Airmen of AFSOC to operate under difficult conditions with unmatched speed and capability."
Lockheed Martin is contracted to build 15 MC‑130Js to begin replacing the current aging fleet. The U.S. Air Force is authorized to acquire up to 20 MC-130Js against an approved requirement for 37.
“As the most flexible airlifter in the world, this new Combat Shadow configuration demonstrates the unmatched platform capability of the Super Hercules,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin vice president for C-130 programs. “As recent events around the world have yet again shown us, the C-130 is the world’s first responder. The C-130J is performing today and will be ready for whatever the future holds.”
The new aircraft is based on a KC-130J tanker baseline and will have the Enhanced Service Life Wing, Enhanced Cargo Handling System, a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (boom refueling receptacle), more powerful electrical generators, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, a combat systems operator station on the flight deck and provisions for the large aircraft infrared countermeasures system. In-line production of this configuration reduces cost and risk, and meets the required 2012 Initial Operational Capability.
For more information, check Al-Defaiya Issue # 2/2011