Portal:United States Air Force/Vehicle Spotlight/11
The C-130 Hercules is a multi-role transport aircraft. First introduced in 1956 the airframe has proven to be incredibly versatile. The aircraft was designed by the Lockheed corporation and initially designed to carry up to 92 passengers, have a range of 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km), and have the capability to take off and land at short and unprepared strips. Testing for the aircraft was conducted from 1954-1956 with the first production models being delivered to the 463d Troop Carrier Wing at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma and the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart AFB, Tennessee in December 1956.
Since that time the C-130 has performed admirably. The aircraft has been employed extensively in major combat operations and military operations other than war (such as humanitarian aid missions) since first being deployed. It continues to perform airlift, airdrop, aerial refueling, electronic warfare, close air support, and reconnaissance missions worldwide.
To date 2,262 C-130s have been produced. There are more than 50 military and civilian variants of the aircraft operated by 89 countries. The newest version, the C-130J Super Hercules, includes major upgrades to the avionics and engines, increases the speed and range of the aircraft while reducing the crew requirements.