The Lockheed Martin KC-130 is the basic designation for a family of the extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft modified for aerial refueling. The KC-130J is the latest variant operated by the United States Marine Corps, with 38 delivered out of 47 ordered. It replaced older KC-130F and KC-130R variants, while USMC reserve units still operate 28 KC-130T aircraft.
|Role||Tanker (aircraft) / Transport|
|National origin||United States|
KC-130J: April 2004
|Primary users||United States Marine Corps
Royal Canadian Air Force
|Number built||KC-130B: 6
|Developed from||Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules
|Developed into||Lockheed Martin HC-130J
Lockheed Martin MC-130J
With the addition of the Marine Corps's ISR / Weapon Mission Kit, the KC-130J will be able to serve as an overwatch aircraft and can deliver ground support fire in the form of Hellfire or Griffin missiles, precision-guided bombs, and eventually 30mm cannon fire in a later upgrade. This capability, designated as "Harvest HAWK" (Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit), can be used in scenarios where precision is not a requisite, such as area denial.
The AN/AAQ-30 Targeting Sight System (TSS) integrates an infrared and television camera, and is mounted under the left wing's external fuel tank. It is the same TSS used on the upgraded AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter . The typical loadout is four Hellfire missiles and 10 Griffin GPS guided missiles. The weapons systems operator uses a Fire Control Console mounted on a standard cargo pallet in the KC-130J’s cargo compartment.
The aircraft retains its original capabilities in refueling and transportation. The entire system can be removed in less than a day if necessary. The USAF MC-130W Dragon Spear program uses a similar concept.
The USMC plans to acquire three kits per active-duty KC-130J squadron for a total of nine kits, each costing up to US$22 million. It was first test flown on 29 August 2009 by VX-20, and first deployed in October 2010 with VMGR-352.
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