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Metalbasher

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  1. The AC-130J's arrival in Afghanistan marks a historic changing of the guard as older AC-130Us have now finished their last scheduled deployment.

     

    By Joseph TrevithickJuly 10, 2019

     

    The U.S. Air Force's new AC-130J Ghostriders have been flying combat missions in Afghanistan since June 2019. The gunships took over from AC-130U Spooky IIs that had been supporting U.S. and coalition special operations forces and their Afghan partners in that country. Those Spooky IIs have now returned to the United States, marking the last scheduled combat deployment ever for that version of the AC-130.

    Northwest Florida Daily News had been the first to report on June 28, 2019, that the AC-130J had flown its first-ever combat mission in Afghanistan. This detail had emerged during a change of command ceremony at Hurlburt Field in Florida, during which U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General James Slife took charge of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) from Lieutenant General Brad Webb. The Ghostrider's first combat sortie had taken place "just days before," according to the story.

    "We are pleased to announce the AC-130J has deployed in support of combat operations overseas," U.S. Air Force Captain Keavy Rake, an AFSOC spokesperson, confirmed to The War Zone in an Email on July 10, 2019. "The first AC-130Js deployed in late June 2019 to relieve the AC-130Us, who arrived home to Hurlburt Field on 8 July 2019."

    The Air Force declared that the AC-130J had reached initial operational capability in late 2017, with the 73rd Special Operation Squadron at Hurlburt Field becoming the first operational unit to fly the aircraft in 2018. The 73rd is the squadron presently flying the Ghostriders over Afghanistan. AC-130Js had previously taken part in a number of exercises in the United States and abroad.

    We don't know much about the 73rd's initial deployment with the Ghostrider yet, but AFSOC's AC-130s most often fly at night, supporting special operations forces on the ground, either providing direct close air support or armed overwatch during their operations. U.S. special operators remain heavily engaged in Afghanistan, against the Taliban and a variety of other terrorist and militant groups, including an ISIS-linked faction that first emerged in 2015. 

    In the past, AC-130s have also conducted targeted strikes against specific individuals in support of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command's task forces in the country. An AC-130U from the 4th Special Operations Squadron was also notably involved in the infamous mistaken strike against a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz in 2015. A subsequent investigation revealed a number of equipment failures and human errors that led to the tragedy.

    The 4th SOS is the last squadron to fly the U-model, including the ones that just returned home this week. It will continue to keep some of those aircraft available for unscheduled contingency deployments until its full complement of AC-130Js has arrived, according to Military.com. The squadron received its first Ghostrider in March 2019. 

    The last Ghostrider deliveries are scheduled to occur in 2021 and the Air Force plans to eventually have a fleet of 37 of the aircraft in total, which will replace all of the remaining AC-130Us and AC-130W Stinger II gunships. As of March 2019, AFSOC had already retired seven of the 10 remaining U models and three of the 12 W variants, according to Pentagon budget documents. The service already retired the last of the AC-130H Spectre gunships in 2016.

    The deployment of the AC-130Js and the end of scheduled combat operations for the AC-130Us very much marks a shift in AFSOC's gunship operations, as well. The Spooky IIs, which entered service in 1995, are the last of the Air Force's old school AC-130 gunships with a five-barrel 25mm GAU-12/U Gatling cannon, a single-barrel 40mm Bofors cannon, and a 105mm howitzer as their only armament. 

    These aircraft were a direct evolution of the original Vietnam War-era AC-130s. By all indications, the AC-130Us are also the last platform of any kind in the U.S. military to use the 40mm Bofors gun, a World War II-era weapon, which proved to be a deadly aerial weapon, but also increasingly hard to operate and maintain. The Air Force had found itself scouring the world for spare parts in the early 2000s and rebuilding 40mm ammunition from the 1940s in recent years to keep the guns operational.

    Clemens Vasters via Wikimedia

    A close up of the 40mm Bofors cannon, at left, and its 105mm howitzer, at right on an AC-130H Spectre gunship. The AC-130U has a similar configuration.

    The AC-130J is a very different beast, though it does have the same 105mm howitzer as the AC-130U, as well as a smaller 30mm GAU-23/A Bushmaster cannon. But the Ghostrider, from the very beginning, was designed to also employ precision-guided munitions, including the AGM-114 Hellfire missile, the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), the GBU-44/B Viper Strike glide bomb, and the AGM-176 Griffin, which can function as a powered missile or as an unpowered glide bomb. The AC-130Ws, which are conversions of older C-130H cargo aircraft, have a virtually identical armament package. 

    The Air Force had not even originally planned to install the 105mm howitzer on the AC-130J, or the AC-130W, but eventually changed course. AFSOC took delivery of the first Block 20 AC-130J with the howitzer in 2016. There had also been concerns about the functionality of the Ghostrider's 30mm GAU-23/A, but these issues have all since been resolved, according to the Pentagon's Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. 

    The precision-guided munitions capability has really added a new dimension to the gunship's capabilities, giving it more stand-off reach and the ability to engage targets in multiple distinct areas simultaneously, something you can read about in more detail here. The addition of new weapons in the future, including the GBU-53/B Stormbreaker, previously known as the Small Diameter Bomb II, and the GBU-69/B Small Glide Munition, both of which have multi-mode guidance systems, will only increase the AC-130J's flexibility. With its 30mm and 105mm weapons, the Ghostriders can also still provide the same kind of extremely precise direct fire support as their predecessors.

    The AC-130Js are also packed with a variety of updated sensors, data links, communications systems, and more, and the Air Force is already in the process of further updating those systems. The latest Block 30 Ghostriders, which the 4th Special Operations Squadron began receiving in March, feature a number of improvements over the Block 20 aircraft that the 73rd Special Operations Squadron is flying in Afghanistan now. This includes upgraded sensor turrets with higher fidelity electro-optical and infrared full-motion video cameras and a new, large broadband satellite communications "hump" on top of the forward fuselage. 

    The Air Force is looking to improve the survivability of all of its remaining gunships against newly emerging threats, such as GPS jamming, too. In 2018, U.S. Army General Raymond Thomas, then head of U.S. Special Operations Command, said that unspecified opponentsmost likely Russian or Russian-backed forces – were using electronic warfare attacks against gunships operating over Syria.

    Entirely new capabilities might find their way onto the Ghostriders as time goes on, too. AFSOC is planning to demonstrate a high-energy laser weapon on one of its AC-130Js in 2022.

    But with no more AC-130U deployments on the schedule and AC-130Js now flying combat missions, the Air Force has already entered a new era of gunship operations.

    AC-130J.jpg

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  2. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group today announced it has been awarded the contract to support the entry into service of the new replacement for the Blue Angels’ iconic Fat Albert, the C-130 support aircraft to the US Navy’s air display team.

    Marshall will carry out the maintenance, paint and minor modifications to the US Navy’s replacement ‘Fat Albert’. The aircraft is a C-130J that the US Navy recently purchased from the UK Ministry of Defence to replace the C-130T that the squadron used for 17 years until May this year.

    The new Fat Albert is a C-130J Super Hercules, four-engine, six-blade turboprop, which will serve as the US Navy’s Blue Angels’ Flight Demonstration Squadron (NFDS) logistical support aircraft.

    Marshall is the global leading C-130 support company outside of the USA and was chosen for its proven expertise with C-130 modification, repair and overhaul (MRO) work and the speed with which the company can make the aircraft operational.

    Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group CEO, Alistair McPhee said:

    “We are delighted that the US Navy has chosen us to work on the new replacement Fat Albert,”

    “We have worked on Royal Air Force C-130s for 50 years and we support a number of international Air Force customers who have purchased surplus C-130s from the UK MOD. It feels like a natural progression for us, but very exciting nevertheless. Fat Albert is a head-turner and plays a major part in supporting the Blue Angels’ display team.”

    Lt. Col. Robert Hurst, PMA-207 C/KC-130 Deputy Program Manager, said:

    “Our partners at the UK MOD and Marshall have been instrumental in executing this extremely challenging acquisition. We have always had a great partnership with the UK and this only adds to the list of ways we accomplish great things together.”

    Fat Albert takes part in the display team’s flying performances, as well as being a crucial support aircraft, carrying the Blue Angels’ tools, spare parts and engineers.

    Marshall will perform depth maintenance on the aircraft, which will include an upgrade to some of its systems to align them to the retired Fat Albert. It will then be repainted in the Blue Angels’ iconic blue, yellow and white colours.

    Fat Albert is expected to be operational in the first part of next year.


  3. Same blades, hence when Robins shut down the propeller line after the KC-130T accident it effected the USN too.  Slightly different processes during processing and rounded tips vs. squared off tips but virtually the same identical prop.

    As for the NP2000.  Big USAF bought off on upgrading the MASS, MAFFS and LC-130s with NP2000 props.  That was all to be done...ANG and AFRC were not really happy being stuck with all the remaining Legacy acft (AMC owns only Js) so ANG and AFRC basically said if you are giving us all the left overs, we're going to put NP2000s on them for reliability etc.  Funding is huge but worth it...timing is the long pole in the tent, how lone to upgrade all the Legacy with 3.5 and the new props.

    https://www.ngaus.org/about-ngaus/newsroom/new-urgency


  4. 24 June 2019

    Patuxent River, Md. - - The Navy has announced the award of the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron’s new “Fat Albert,” the Blue Angels’ logistics cargo plane.

    Scheduled for delivery in spring 2020, the $29.7 million contract was awarded to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (UK MOD) for a divested C-130J Super Hercules. Cost savings associated with acquisition of the used aircraft and other airworthiness requirements is approximately $50 million less than the cost of a new aircraft. 

    “This is a win-win for the U.S. Navy and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence,” said Capt. Steven Nassau, PMA-207 program manager.  “Just as the Navy recognized the imminent need to replace the Fat Albert aircraft, the UK MOD was divesting of an American made, C-130J; aircraft allowing us to acquire a suitable replacement aircraft at a major cost savings.”

    In March 2018, PMA-207 received congressional approval to proceed with acquisition of the UK MOD C-130J with funding from Foreign Military Sales proceeds.  

    The last dedicated Fat Albert, a C-130T Hercules, retired May 2019 and now serves as a ground-based training platform in Fort Worth, Texas. Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron will continue flying Navy or Marine Corps C-130 Hercules assets until the replacement aircraft is complete.


  5. 1700575851_2019_06_5L3Upgrade.jpg.f80692e2ca92e57850ce5534fd37c490.jpg

    L3 Technologies has been awarded a $500 million contract for a major avionics upgrade of 176 Lockheed Martin C-130H tactical transports flown by the US Air National Guard and US Air Force (USAF) Reserve Command.

    The fixed-price-incentive-firm contract is for engineering and manufacturing development through production, as well as training and logistics. The upgrade work is planned to be performed predominantly in Waco, Texas, and is expected to be complete by the end of September 2029.

    L3 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The USAF has initially obligated $37 million for research, development, testing and evaluation of the avionics upgrade package.

    The avionics upgrade is part of a larger C-130 modernisation programme. National Guard and USAF Reserve C-130Hs will also have Collins Aerospace NP2000 propeller systems added and receive a “Series 3.5 upgrade” to their Rolls-Royce (R-R) T56 engines.

    Incorporating the NP2000 propeller will help the C-130H’s operational performance, while also reducing maintenance time and cost. R-R says the T56 upgrade should allow the type's engines to operate at lower and higher temperatures, while extending the lifespan of parts and improving reliability by 22%.

    05 June, 2019

    SOURCE: FlightGlobal.com

    BY: Garrett Reim

     


  6. Torin Halsey, Times Record News Published 4:18 p.m. CT March 22, 2018

    (Photo: Torin Halsey/Times Record News)

    A massive Lockheed MC-130P cargo plane landed at Sheppard Air Force Base Wednesday afternoon, touching down with only three of its four powerful turbo prop engines running.

    One had been turned off during the last leg of the journey from California to Texas due to low oil pressure.

    The plane is being retired from its mission with the 129th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard based at Moffett Federal Airfield.

    It made its final flight to become a training tool for aircraft maintainers and mechanics in the 982nd Maintenance Training Squadron at SAFB.

    "The C-130, in general, is kind of like a utility truck for the Air Force," said Col. Fred Foote, a member of the flight crew. "It can get into extremely small dirt strips, take off and land in areas where no other airplane can."

    Buy Photo

    A crowd gathers around the newest addition to aircraft maintenance training at Sheppard Air Force Base, an MC-130P from the Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing. The trip here from Moffett Federal Airfield in California was its final flight. (Photo: Torin Halsey/Times Record News)

    The workhorse military transports were developed in the mid 1950s and have been adapted to more than 40 variations, including cargo, troop transport, gunships, refueling, aerial firefighting, and search and rescue.

    The versatile C-130 Hercules is known for its reliability and is the longest continually-produced military aircraft. The updated Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercules is currently being produced.

    "Just the reliability in general, it's my favorite airplane the military has ever developed and I'm excited that a new generation, the J-model, of the same exact airplane, can continue on as long as I'm alive," Foote said.

    Tail # 66-0223


  7. PENSACOLA , Fla. (WEAR-TV) — The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are bidding farewell to their C-130T aircraft.

    The Blue Angels announced on Wednesday the aircraft known as Fat Albert is officially retiring.

    The Navy says Fat Albert has served the Blue Angels for 17-years and flown more than 30,000 hours in support of their missions.

     

     

    According to the U.S. Navy the current airframe, BUNO 164763, has been with the team since 2002 and was the last C-130 to conduct a jet-assisted take-off (JATO).

    The Navy says their team will be transported via Fleet-provided logistics until a permanent replacement aircraft is identified.

    Officials told Channel 3 News Fat Albert "will enjoy her retirement as a ground-based training aid in Fort Worth, Texas."

    ** to be a ground trainer no less, not in a museum or static**


  8. Behold The MC-130J Spec Ops Transport With Its Badly Needed Terrain Following Radar Installed

    Nearly all of the Air Force's MC-130Js do not have an adequate terrain-following/terrain avoidance capability to perform their low-level missions.

    By Joseph TrevithickMay 15, 2019

    Lockheed Martin Screen Capture

    Lockheed Martin has released a video showing one of the first MC-130J Commando II special operations transports equipped with the Raytheon AN/APQ-187 Silent Knight terrain-following/terrain avoidance radar. The U.S. Air Force plans to upgrade the entire Commando II fleet to this new configuration in the coming years, giving the planes a nap-of-the-earth flight capability that is essential for performing their special operations missions, but which they have lacked since their introduction nearly a decade ago.

    By the end of 2018, the Air Force had at least two MC-130Js equipped with the Silent Knight Radar, or SKR, according to Pentagon budget documents. In its most recent budget request for the 2020 Fiscal Year, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is in charge of procuring SKRs for Air Force Special Operations Command, asked for almost $9 million for the purchase of two radars, associated equipment, and support services. AFSOC expects to eventually receive more than 70 Commando IIs, all of which are set to receive the new radar.

    “The program will not just integrate that new radar, but will also evolve the [MC-130J’s] digital cockpit to automate essential functions,” Paul Keith, Lockheed Martin’s Program Manager for the MC-130J Common Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance Radar (MCTF) program, said in the new video. “This will allow a smaller AFSOC crew to do as much or even more than current crews can do.”

    SKR is an impressive multi-function radar in its own right, with terrain-following/terrain avoidance, weather, and ground mapping modes. It works over any terrain, including sand, ice, and snow, as well as in maritime environments. SOCOM’s requirements called for it to work at altitudes from 100 to 1,000 feet in level or turning flight and at speeds from 5 to 300 knots, or between 6 and 345 miles per hour.

    Lockheed Martin capture

    A screengrab from the video showing one of the MC-130Js now equipped with the SKR.

    The radar operates on K-band and has low probability of intercept (LPI) and low probability of detection (LPD) features. This is an important consideration for special operations missions that often involve penetrating into denied areas. If the enemy detected the radar passively in or near their airspace it could give away the MC-130J's presence and compromise its mission and its survivability. The terrain-follow and terrain avoidance capability in of itself helps enable extremely low nap-of-the-earth flight profiles, including in poor weather and at night, to help evade and avoid hostile air defenses.

    SOCOM initially began the SKR program in the late 2000s primarily to develop a new terrain-following/terrain avoidance radar for the special operations MH-47 Chinooks and MH-60 Black Hawks assigned to the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Since then, however, the effort has evolved, with plans now for the radar to become a common system for those helicopters, as well as the Air Force’s special operations CV-22B Osprey tilt-rotors and the MC-130J.

    An overview of the SKR's features.

    Silent Knight offers significant benefits for each one of these platforms, but is a particularly essential development for the Commando II. AFSOC’s MC-130 fleets as a whole, which also includes the MC-130H Combat Talon II, are facing increasing challenges as ever-improving threat air defense capabilities continue to emerge and proliferate around the world.

    For decades now, AFSOC and other components of the Air Force have been investigating a wide array of potentially more survivable replacement options, including stealth transport aircraft, as well as myriad upgrades to ensure the MC-130 platform remains relevant in the coming years. The War Zone recently completed a large two-part feature on these developments, which you can find here and here.

    In the meantime, terrain-following and terrain avoidance capabilities and nap-of-the-earth flight profiles remain critical to the ability of MC-130s to complete their missions. So, shockingly, the Air Force took delivery of the first MC-130Js in 2011, and put the first examples into operational service the next year, without any such capability. After nearly a decade, with the exception of the examples now carrying the SKR, the Commando II fleet still lacks the kind of functionality found on the older MC-130H.

    Carlos Menendez San Juan via Wikimedia

    An MC-130H Combat Talon II. That large nose radome contains, among other things, the aircraft's AN/APQ-170 terrain-following/terrain avoidance radar.

    “Concerning the MC-130H Combat Talon II, these would remain in service longer, the first retirements not planned until FY15 (two), with another three in FY19,” according to an official AFSOC history for the 2013 calendar year, which the author previously obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. “The main reason for retaining the H models longer centered on their capabilities, specifically terrain following radar and self-protection features.”

    It's worth noting that the MC-130J has already replaced the MC-130P Combat Shadow, which served primarily as a special operations tanker for helicopters such as the 160th's MH-47s and MH-60s, rather than as a platform to deeply penetrate into denied areas to insert, extract, or resupply special operations forces. This helps explain why the Air Force had originally named the J model as the Combat Shadow II, before renaming it the Commando II. You can find the full story behind the MC-130J's name here. In Lockheed Martin's new video, they refer to the SKR-equipped aircraft as Combat Talon IIIs, a moniker the Air Force officially rejected, but which may become an informal name for the aircraft, something that often happens with U.S. military aircraft. 

    Whatever the case, AFSOC only formalized requirements to add a terrain-following/terrain avoidance radar to the MC-130J in 2012 and installed a prototype system on one aircraft, serial number 09-5713, the following year. This was an update to Northrop Grumman’s AN/APN-241 multi-function radar, a design first introduced in the 1990s that is found on standard C-130J Hercules airlifters.

    Northrop Grumman

    A look at some of the different modes and functionality that the AN/APN-241 offers.

    Northrop Grumman and Israel’s Elbit systems developed the update, which is now part of the standard AN/APN-241 package and offers a certain level of terrain-following/terrain avoidance capability. However, the modified radar turned out to be unsuitable for highly demanding low-level special operations missions.

    “The committee understands that during contractor flight tests of the APN-241 modified for terrain following, operators and testers deemed the APN-241 unsafe and ineffective for Terrain Following/Terrain Avoidance (TF/TA) flight, and that any modification to the current APN-241 would require extensive redesign and result in a new radar system,” a report from the House Armed Services Committee in 2015 explained. “As such, the committee supports the USSOCOM Commander's decision to accelerate transition to the AN/APQ-187 Silent Knight Radar program.”

    It is important to note that the AN/APQ-187 won’t replace the AN/APN-241 on the Commando II. “Unknowns consisted or potential radar signal interference, system integration, and mounting/weight unknowns,” AFSOC had already warned with regards to this dual radar configuration in 2013. We don’t know what measures Lockheed Martin or Raytheon may have taken to mitigate these concerns or what limitations this might impose on the SKR’s functionality.

    Lockheed Martin capture

    A look at an MC-130J equipped with the SKR with its main nose radome removed. The AN/APN-241 is visible directly below the SKR.

    Regardless, it's clear that the SKR is far better suited to the MC-130J's special operations mission than the existing AN/APN-241. Hopefully, with SOCOM having now transitioned from development to actually procuring conversion kits, it will not be long before the entire existing Commando II fleet receives their new distinctive noses. 

    Until they get this desperately needed terrain-following/terrain avoidance capability, the MC-130Js will remain limited in the kinds of missions they can perform and where and when they can perform them.

    Video link:  https://youtu.be/NNFz-nIvMcM

    MC-130J with SKR Radome.jpg


  9. Updated 21 hours ago

    By Thomas Gnau, Staff Writer

    The University of Dayton’s newest lab will be unique. 

    The UD Research Institute will start to receive a decommissioned Air Force C-130 cargo plane Wednesday morning, expected to arrive in several sections on flatbed trucks.

    The plane will be used for research work and education, the Air Force and a spokeswoman for the university said Wednesday.

    Once reassembled, researchers from UDRI will perform research with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Product Support Engineering Division and the center’s C-130 Program Office, Wright-Patterson said in a statement.

    “The Air Force spends a lot of money on aircraft sustainment,” said Debbie Naguy, AFLCMC Product Support Engineering Division chief. “The C-130 that is being delivered here today will help us demonstrate and qualify new innovative technologies to lower sustainment costs and improve readiness.”

    Air Force and university researchers will together use the plane to test and demonstrate new technologies, with an eye on how to lower costs in sustaining older C-130s.

    Keeping older planes flying, and doing that in a cost-effective way, is one of the Air Force’s bigger challenges. 

    In particular, new technologies such as 3-D printing offer the Air Force a relatively low cost way to replicate older plane components.

    UD poured a 2,500-square-foot concrete pad to bear the plane, which weighs 40 tons empty. 

    The plane has a wing span of more than 130 feet. A university spokeswoman said it may take about a week to fully assemble.

    The plane is being delivered from Eglin Air Force Base, near Pensacola, Fla.

    The research work is expected to last between 18 and 24 months and will involve students from UD, The Ohio State University, and Wright State University working alongside Air Force and UDRI engineers and researchers, Wright Patterson said in an announcement. 

    Video located at:  https://www.daytondailynews.com/business/update-giant-130-cargo-plane-delivered-today/HP5m3li2COLsVkS0BPTDwK/

     


  10. 14 May 2019 at 1:50pm

    Marshall Aerospace to leave Cambridge Airport after putting site up for massive housing development

    Marshall Aerospace and Degence Group is moving to a new location. Credit: ITV News Anglia

    Marshall Aerospace has announced it will leave its base at Cambridge Airport with the site being used for the development of up to 12,000 new homes.

    Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group employs more than 6,000 people, many working from the head office in Cambridge.

    Christopher Walkinshaw, from Marshall Aerospace, reassured staff that their jobs were secure, saying they were "absolutely at the centre of our planning for this phase of the programme".

    He added: "We have a workforce of nearly 1,500 people in Cambridge who are highly skilled and experienced in the work that we do and we’re really, really keen that any relocation should work for them as well."

    The company has a turnover of more than £2.5 billion and works on commercial and military aircraft from around the world. Their contracts include maintaining the C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft for the RAF.

    Marshall said they have now identified three new preferred locations:

    • Cranfield, Bedfordshire

    • Duxford, Cambridgeshire

    • Wyton, Cambridgeshire

    The Cambridge Airport site will be put forward for development. Credit: ITV News Anglia

    Alex Dorrian, Executive Chairman of Marshall said: “This is a momentous day for Marshall, when two opportunities coincide to create a launchpad for ambitious long‐term plans for the future of Marshall and also for Cambridge.

    “Our commitment to our businesses, our employees, and to Cambridge is driven directly by our shareholders."

    Alex Dorrain added: "This is the beginning of an exciting phase for Marshall, during which time we will build on our success and focus ever more closely on delivering a unique Marshall experience to our customers.

    “There is a great deal of ground to be covered before any decisions can be announced and that work is now underway.

    "We will also be working closely with the local planning authorities as they move to the next stage of the development of the 2030+ Local Plan.”

    Marshall employ more than 6,000 people. Credit: ITV News Anglia

    Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “This landmark announcement represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver something truly exceptional for the eastern side of Cambridge, in a bold, ambitious mixed development of homes and jobs, supported by the 21st Century public transport offered by the CAM Metro.

    “In meeting with Marshall I was hugely encouraged and excited by this proposal. There is both an enthusiasm to develop a compelling masterplan and a real commitment to leaving a genuine legacy. This is about far more than simply filling the site with conventional housing.

    “I welcome the prospect of a sustainable new district with its own unique identity and which will be seen as an exemplar for the rest of the world in how to develop such sites intelligently and with real flair."

    14 May 2019 at 1:50pm

    Marshall Aerospace to leave Cambridge Airport after putting site up for massive housing development

    Marshall Aerospace and Degence Group is moving to a new location. Credit: ITV News Anglia

    Marshall Aerospace has announced it will leave its base at Cambridge Airport with the site being used for the development of up to 12,000 new homes.

    Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group employs more than 6,000 people, many working from the head office in Cambridge.

    Christopher Walkinshaw, from Marshall Aerospace, reassured staff that their jobs were secure, saying they were "absolutely at the centre of our planning for this phase of the programme".

    He added: "We have a workforce of nearly 1,500 people in Cambridge who are highly skilled and experienced in the work that we do and we’re really, really keen that any relocation should work for them as well."

    The company has a turnover of more than £2.5 billion and works on commercial and military aircraft from around the world. Their contracts include maintaining the C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft for the RAF.

    Marshall said they have now identified three new preferred locations:

    • Cranfield, Bedfordshire

    • Duxford, Cambridgeshire

    • Wyton, Cambridgeshire

    The Cambridge Airport site will be put forward for development. Credit: ITV News Anglia

    Alex Dorrian, Executive Chairman of Marshall said: “This is a momentous day for Marshall, when two opportunities coincide to create a launchpad for ambitious long‐term plans for the future of Marshall and also for Cambridge.

    “Our commitment to our businesses, our employees, and to Cambridge is driven directly by our shareholders."

    Alex Dorrain added: "This is the beginning of an exciting phase for Marshall, during which time we will build on our success and focus ever more closely on delivering a unique Marshall experience to our customers.

    “There is a great deal of ground to be covered before any decisions can be announced and that work is now underway.

    "We will also be working closely with the local planning authorities as they move to the next stage of the development of the 2030+ Local Plan.”

    Marshall employ more than 6,000 people. Credit: ITV News Anglia

    Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “This landmark announcement represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver something truly exceptional for the eastern side of Cambridge, in a bold, ambitious mixed development of homes and jobs, supported by the 21st Century public transport offered by the CAM Metro.

    “In meeting with Marshall I was hugely encouraged and excited by this proposal. There is both an enthusiasm to develop a compelling masterplan and a real commitment to leaving a genuine legacy. This is about far more than simply filling the site with conventional housing.

    “I welcome the prospect of a sustainable new district with its own unique identity and which will be seen as an exemplar for the rest of the world in how to develop such sites intelligently and with real flair."

     


  11. I know there was a thread on here a few years ago but never saw a good answer.  Looking for a POC, Webpage etc for C-130 Cartoon Illustrations or Illustrations from Dave Davenport (from the Spring Lake NC/Pope AFB area).  I heard he passed away but not sure if he cataloged any of his work for resale or not.

    Thanks
    Scott
     


  12. Lockheed Martin Delivers First HC-130J Combat King II to New York Air National Guard

    106th Rescue Wing Recapitalizing Legacy HC-130 Fleet With Four HC-130Js

    1140376194_2019_03_21NYHC.thumb.jpg.79374cfbdb6558fbca22f9f5e73d99b5.jpg

    The first HC-130J Commando II assigned to the N.Y. Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing departs Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, Georgia, where all C-130s are built. (Lockheed Martin photo by Todd R. McQueen)

    "The HC-130 Hercules aircraft has been an essential part of the 106th’s Rescue Wing’s fleet for many decades, supporting these brave Airmen in meeting their mission requirements time and time again.” -Ray Burick

    MARIETTA, Ga., March 21, 2019  – Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered the first of four HC-130J Combat King II aircraft today to representatives from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing (RQW).

    This HC-130J will be operated by the 102nd Rescue Squadron (RQS) at Francis S. Grabreski Air National Guard Base, New York. The 102nd RQS, which is part of the 106th Rescue Wing (RQW), currently operates a legacy fleet of HC-130P/N variant Combat King I aircraft, which will be replaced by four new HC-130Js. The squadron will use its HC-130Js to refuel the New York Air National Guard’s 101st RQS HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which were manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business in Stratford, Connecticut.  

    Like others in the U.S. Air Force Rescue community, the 106th RQW lives by the motto, "That Others May Live," which reflects its mission of supporting combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. Crews from the 106th RQW rely on HC-130s to extend the range of combat search and rescue helicopters by providing air refueling in hostile or contested airspace. Other mission capabilities include performing tactical delivery of pararescue teams, small bundles, zodiac watercraft or four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicles; and providing direct assistance to survivors in advance of a recovery vehicle. 

    "The HC-130 Hercules aircraft has been an essential part of the 106th’s Rescue Wing’s fleet for many decades, supporting these brave Airmen in meeting their mission requirements time and time again,” said Ray Burick, vice president of Domestic Programs for Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business. “The Lockheed Martin team is proud to provide the N.Y. Air National Guard with new HC-130Js that deliver increased power, capability and performance to support their crews in doing what they do best: saving lives and protecting the people they serve.”

    The HC-130J is the only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force and Air National Guard. The HC-130J supports missions in adverse weather and geographic environments, including reaching austere locations. The HC-130J is also tasked for airdrop, airland, and helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward-area ground refueling missions. It also supports humanitarian aid operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation and noncombatant evacuation operations.

    The HC-130J is one of eight production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. With 400+ aircraft delivered, the C-130J is the airlifter of choice for 20 nations. The global Super Hercules fleet has more than 1.9 million flight hours of experience supporting almost any mission requirement — any time, any place.

    The U.S. government operates the largest C-130J Super Hercules fleet in the world. This delivery continues the U.S. government's transition to the C-130J as the common platform across Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marine Corps. The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command currently operate a mixed fleet of C-130J and older Hercules aircraft.

    Source: https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2019-03-21-Lockheed-Martin-Delivers-First-HC-130J-Combat-King-II-to-New-York-Air-National-Guard

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  13. 347075982_2019_03_04CenterWIng.jpg.561f079cec6b9d7f491fa8a3e2adff31.jpg

    USAF to undertake centre-wing replacement of Hercules airlifters

    Gareth Jennings, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

    04 March 2019

    The USAF is to award Lockheed Martin a contract to replace the centre-wing section on an undisclosed number of C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

    The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Lockheed Martin a sole-source contract to replace the centre-wing section on an undisclosed number of C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft, the service disclosed on 3 March.

    A notification for the award covers supply of all new fabricated components, wire harnesses, and miscellaneous parts required to install the C-130J Center Wing Replacement (CWR) kits for installation on C-130J aircraft. "This requirement includes the production of two configurations of the C-130J CWR kit to accommodate both the short [C-130J] and stretch [C-130J-30] versions of the aircraft," the USAF said.

    The Air Force Materiel Command that posted the pre-solicitation notice did not disclose a contract value or a timeline for the work.

    The USAF fields about 430 C-130 Hercules aircraft, of which 214 are C-130J-variants. Of these, 10 are C-130J and 113 are C-130J-30 transport platforms most likely to be subject to the CWR effort due to the stresses that the airlift mission imposes on the airframe in terms of carrying heavy cargo loads, flying in and out of austere operating environments and performing tactical flight profiles

    Source: https://www.janes.com/article/86983/usaf-to-undertake-centre-wing-replacement-of-hercules-airlifters


  14. Came across this good article...

    BY CURT SWARM

    Feb 4, 2019

     

    Photo provided The Hercules C-130 begins to emerge from the snow and ice of Antarctica.

    U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Kent White's team found the wrecked Hercules C-130 Transport Airplane by using radar.

    Its tail fin, with the numbers “321,” was barely visible, sticking up through the snow and ice on the Polar Plateau of Antarctica. It was -40° F in early December, 1987. Seventeen years earlier, the C-130 Transport had crashed during take off from a French Scientific Camp. The U.S. Navy abandoned it, classifying the 321 as a “Strike” aircraft.

    The French were now asking permission to recover and restore the buried C-130. Not wanting another country to reclaim its downed aircraft, the U.S. State Department, like a dog guarding a food bowl, said no to the French. The Navy then ordered Lt. Cm. Kent White to find, restore, and fly the downed aircraft out of Antarctica.

    A daunting task? Yes! But Kent White was used to extraordinary accomplishments. You see, when he was in high school in Mt. Pleasant, he was a member of the famed football team of 1963 that went undefeated, un-tied, and un-scored upon.

    White's Navy team went to work with bulldozers and construction equipment (that they never shut off due to the cold) to dig out the downed aircraft. They had it mostly uncovered when “summer” was over in Antarctica, and they had to leave. They came back the next year to find the aircraft buried once again, but not as packed in as before.

    This time they replaced props, engines and whatever it took to get the crippled aircraft ready to fly. The landing gear, which was on skis, would not retract, but they could fly it that way. The cabin would also not pressurize—but White and his crew, using oxygen, could manage. White took note that the rear fuselage seemed to be bent from being buried in the snow and ice. However, the engineers deemed her airworthy, or at least enough to fly it to McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

    On January 10, 1988, they prayed, lifted off the ice, and made it to McMurdo. The real danger was still ahead of them. They were to fly the C-130 to Christchurch, New Zealand, which was an eight-hour flight over water. Still with a landing gear that would not retract, a cabin that would not pressurize, and following a “pathfinder” airplane because they had no navigation equipment (not an easy task), they made it safely to Christchurch.

    There on the ground, White walked away from the C-130 and said, looking back at her, “There you SOB, I'm done with you!” Almost.

    The C-130 was totally rebuilt and White flew her with a five-man crew to Navy Point Mugu in Southern California. That was the end of it for White. From there, the 321 went to Pensacola, Florida where she was on static display at the Naval Aviation Museum. The 321 is now laid to rest at a boneyard in Arizona.

    White retired from the Navy two years later after serving 20 years. If he had stayed, he would have become a desk jockey, something he did not want to do, since he loved flying so much.

    As a side note, earlier in his career, White accidentally met the commander of the 321 that crashed in Antarctica. After recovering the 321, White tracked the fellow down and told him, “We got your airplane back for you!”

    After the Navy, White became a pilot for Evergreen International Airlines, flying 747s. He is now 71, retired and living in Mt. Pleasant with his wife, Pat. He has been on the Henry County Board of Supervisors and is currently on the Mt. Pleasant City Council. Because of his Master's Degree in Human Relations, he is also a mediator working with truant kids.

    Like the pilot of the 321, he leads the city and kids through troubled waters and icy conditions. He feels fortunate to have had a career where he was able to do every day what he loved to do —fly.

    Frozen C-130.jpg

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  15. by FOX26 News

    Wednesday, December 12th 2018

    Historic plane heading to Castle Air Museum

    ATWATER, Calif. (FOX26) — A plane (66-0212) that carried American POW's held by the Viet Cong is now getting a new home in the Central Valley.

    The 52-year-old airplane is headed to the Castle Air Museum in Atwater.

    The Lockheed MC-130 P Hercules search and rescue aircraft played a significant role in the liberation of the Son Tay POW camp in North Vietnam on November 20, 1970.

    The plane has been assigned to the California Air National Guard 129th Air Rescue Wing based at Moffett Federal Airfield near Sunnyvale, Calif. since 2012.

    The aircraft was employed on many air and sea rescue missions during the past six years as far away as Alaska and the Galapagos Islands.

    The plane is currently parked at the Castle Airport in Atwater and will be moved to its permanent home at the museum sometime in January.

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  16. On this day in 1954, marked the first flight of the C-130 Hercules!

     

    On this day, 23 August 1954, Lockheed pilots Stanley Beltz and Roy Wimmer flew the Hercules YC-130 transport on its first flight.

    Background and requirements

     

    The Korean War showed that World War II-era piston-engine transports—Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars, Douglas C-47 Skytrains and Curtiss C-46 Commandos—were no longer adequate. Thus, on 2 February 1951, the United States Air Force issued a General Operating Requirement (GOR) for a new transport to Boeing, Douglas, Fairchild, Lockheed, Martin, Chase Aircraft, North American, Northrop, and Airlifts Inc. The new transport would have a capacity of 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or 64 paratroopers in a cargo compartment that was approximately 41 feet (12 m) long, 9 feet (2.7 m) high, and 10 feet (3.0 m) wide. Unlike transports derived from passenger airliners, it was to be designed specifically as a combat transport with loading from a hinged loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage.

    A key feature was the introduction of the Allison T56 turboprop powerplant, which was developed for the C-130. At the time, the turboprop was a new application of gas turbines, which offered greater range at propeller-driven speeds compared to pure turbojets, which were faster but consumed more fuel. They also produced much more power for their weight than piston engines.

    Design phase

     

    The Hercules resembled a larger four-engine brother to the C-123 Provider with a similar wing and cargo ramp layout that evolved from the Chase XCG-20 Avitruc, which in turn, was first designed and flown as a cargo glider in 1947.[5] The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter also had a rear ramp, which made it possible to drive vehicles onto the plane (also possible with forward ramp on a C-124). The ramp on the Hercules was also used to airdrop cargo, which included low-altitude extraction for Sheridan tanks and even dropping large improvised "daisy cutter" bombs.

    The new Lockheed cargo plane design possessed a range of 1,100 nmi (1,270 mi; 2,040 km), takeoff capability from short and unprepared strips, and the ability to fly with one engine shut down. Fairchild, North American, Martin, and Northrop declined to participate. The remaining five companies tendered a total of ten designs: Lockheed two, Boeing one, Chase three, Douglas three, and Airlifts Inc. one. The contest was a close affair between the lighter of the two Lockheed (preliminary project designation L-206) proposals and a four-turboprop Douglas design.

    The Lockheed design team was led by Willis Hawkins, starting with a 130-page proposal for the Lockheed L-206.[6]Hall Hibbard, Lockheed vice president and chief engineer, saw the proposal and directed it to Kelly Johnson, who did not care for the low-speed, unarmed aircraft, and remarked, "If you sign that letter, you will destroy the Lockheed Company."[6] Both Hibbard and Johnson signed the proposal and the company won the contract for the now-designated Model 82 on 2 July 1951.[7]

    The first flight of the YC-130 prototype was made on 23 August 1954 from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California. The aircraft, serial number 53-3397, was the second prototype, but the first of the two to fly. The YC-130 was piloted by Stanley Beltz and Roy Wimmer on its 61-minute flight to Edwards Air Force Base; Jack Real and Dick Stanton served as flight engineers. Kelly Johnson flew chase in a Lockheed P2V Neptune.[8]

    After the two prototypes were completed, production began in Marietta, Georgia, where over 2,300 C-130s have been built through 2009.[9]

    The initial production model, the C-130A, was powered by Allison T56-A-9 turboprops with three-blade propellers and originally equipped with the blunt nose of the prototypes. Deliveries began in December 1956, continuing until the introduction of the C-130B model in 1959. Some A-models were equipped with skis and re-designated C-130D. As the C-130A became operational with Tactical Air Command (TAC), the C-130's lack of range became apparent and additional fuel capacity was added with wing pylon-mounted tanks outboard of the engines; this added 6,000 lb of fuel capacity for a total capacity of 40,000 lb.

    1st YC-130.jpg

    Spotlight_YC130_Body_Mate_1267828237_4921.jpg

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