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MC-130J in production


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Got word that the first four MC-130J aircraft are in Body Mate, with delivery in February 2011.

Wow, someone's smokin' something good.

They are no where near body mate, not to mention only one can be in body mate at a time. The 3 Indian planes are in front of them. The first one is roughly 4 weeks(give or take) away from moving into Final Assembly, and the Body Mate Position, which would put the first one out the door(to paint, and then flight test) roughly around the first of the year.

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  • 1 month later...

Whow!!!! it seems like only yesterday I was on the Crew Station Working Group for the Combat Talon II -- MC-130H and now they are getting the J.

Why didn't you get me better screens, Skip? ;) And a "John Madden" pen so the nav could draw on his screen and it shows up on mine - cut down the chit-chat during low-level! Damn you, you luddite! Maps! Pshaw! ;)

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  • 2 months later...

Is there any significance to the 62 in the tail numbers? It seems Herks have been getting unit numbers in the tail numbers since 85, when Texas got the 1360 series. If I had to guess, I'd speculate that the 62nd would convert to a SOS and get these airplanes. Is this the case?

No, they are going to the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon AFB. This was explained here in response to one of your other posts: http://herkybirds.com/showthread.php?1245-Next-in-line-for-Jay-birds./page5

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The first two MC-130Js are now in Final Assembly, with another two right behind them. The production codes (73J) which they share with the HC-130Js are clearly visible.

LM a little slow on the photo release it seems. Come tomorrow this view will have 73J04 on the far side, and 73J05 in the near slot. Wanna say J03 is already out the door. Maybe Monday. Wondering why they haven't put up a photo of Qatar's 1st Super Herc yet. It will be out of Body Mate, here in a day or so.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Picture from 02 Feb 11: The first of 15 MC-130Js currently on order for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command has completed final assembly at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta. Following painting and production flight test the aircraft will be delivered this summer.

SN 5656 73J03


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Two things,

1) That's a damn pretty bird, even without the paint.

2) Is there a reason for using the old style Sargent Fletcher pods? I though they were developing a new refuel pod.

The KC-130J (upon which the HC/MC is based) was supposed to be equipped with Flight Refuelling Ltd.'s Mk32B-901E hose-and-drogue units, which are controlled using software rather than hydraulics. The FRL system allows fuel delivery pressure and flow rates to be adjusted at the hose end to better suit various receivers, while ram air turbine-driven fuel boost pumps in each pod improve fuel off-load performance.

However, problems were discovered in 2002 with the FRL pod's hose reel response software, which did not provide "adequate responses...in the entire aerial refueling envelope", according to the USMC.

Upgraded pods from Sargent Fletcher were used instead, with improvements like a Rapid Ground Refueling port and other reliability enhancements. Cobham owns RFL and Sargent Fletcher, so there was no big loss for them either way.

The plan was to bring the Mk32B-901E back in after the problems were resolved, but since the new Sargent Fletcher pods offer the same digital capability (although through an analog interface), I am not sure what happened.

If anyone has any updated information on the Mk32B-901E and whether it was ever adopted for the KC/HC/MC-130J please post!

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The -900 series of pods were developed into what is currently flying on the MC-130H and MC-130W. During development they were refferred to as "MCARS" (MC-130H Air Refueling System) pods and the T.O. refers to them as IARS (Integrated Air Refueling System). This program benefitted from the Marine efforts on the KC-130J. I don't recall what the final Mk32-900 designation is.

I believe that the Japanese use a derivative of the MCARS system and that there are other -900 series pods flying on Canadian and Swedish C-130's. I haven't heard of any efforts to install these on J-models other than what was attempted on the KC-130J.

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The first Combat Shadow II for the United States Air Force Special Operations Command has completed manufacture at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta. Following installation of additional special mission equipment, such as the chin-mounted sensor turret, the aircraft will begin flight test. The MC-130J Combat Shadow II will fly clandestine, or low visibility, single or multi-ship low-level air refueling missions for special operations helicopters, and infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces by airdrop or airland. The MC-130J will primarily fly missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by airborne threats.

A New Shadow is Cast


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  • 2 weeks later...

These are the registrations of MC-130Js that have been assigned as of 22 Feb 11:

5656 09-6207

5657 09-6208

5658 09-6209

5659 09-6210

5680 08-6201

5681 08-6202

5682 08-6203

5694 08-6204

5695 08-6205

5696 08-6206

5697 Numbering conflict to be resolved

As always, this is subject to change. The current plan is for 20 MC-130Js, but above 5697 there is no guidance on which are MC-130Js and which are HC-130Js.

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First MC-130J training program takes flight

by Rachel Arroyo

Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

3/1/2011 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- As the first MC-130J Combat Shadow II rolled off the Lockheed Martin factory line, a training flight class conducted sorties in preparation for transition to the new airframe.

The Air Force Special Operations Training Center's first MC-130J training program flight class practiced air drops, aerial refueling and formation on an EC-130J Commando Solo at Harrisburg International Airport, PA recently.

AFSOTC worked in conjunction with the 193rd Special Operations Wing, the United States Marine Corps and the National Guard Bureau to kick-start a training program two years in the making.

"This first class is a small group try-out designed to validate our syllabus of instruction for the remaining classes," said Maj. Robert Deka, AFSOTC MC-130J training program manager.

In a phase AFSOTC commander Col. Mark Alsid referred to as "train the trainer," the program has pooled the best instructors to provide academic instruction to Air Commandos who will take that knowledge and bring it back to their home bases.

"AFSOTC is setting the stage for the future of this platform, and the MC-130J is a huge addition to the AFSOC fleet, so we have to get it right," Colonel Alsid said.

The program features tailored pilot, combat systems officer and loadmaster training with different facets held in California, New Mexico, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Florida.

After completing training in their respective areas, the flight class members met in Harrisburg for the first time to practice piloting the J-model with a reduced number of crew, which required enhanced coordination among members.

The MC-130J is manned by a 5-member crew. This is a reduction in size from the standard 8-member MC-130P Combat Shadow crew, Major Deka said.

With no flight engineer or radio systems operator, the loadmaster will assume many of the duties previously designated to those positions, including the complete preflight and loading of cryptic codes, said Master Sgt. Scott Reed, AFSOTC lead J-model loadmaster.

The loadmaster will also be a systems expert.

The combat systems operator will also engage in less traditional navigation duties as he handles in-flight helicopter refueling procedures normally conducted by the flight engineer.

No glitches occurred while coordinating these functions. Though this was the first class training flight on the Commando Solo, program instructors have been using MC-130J procedures for a few years, he said.

Sergeant Reed has been involved with the training program since its inception two years ago. He said he was honored to jump in headfirst and apply his knowledge of the MC-130P Combat Shadow to developing a training plan for the J-model alongside a select group of talented aviators which includes some from the Combat Talon community.

"It's rewarding," he said. "We literally started with nothing."

Lt. Col. Tobin Wong, AFSOTC evaluator pilot and MC-130J subject matter expert, echoed the sentiments of Sergeant Reed.

"It's exciting. A lot of hard work has gone into the training," Colonel Wong said. "But we could not have gotten to this point without the support of the 193 SOW."

In addition to qualifying crew members in MC-130J procedures, the program is designed to keep those qualified current until the Combat Shadow II is delivered later this year, said Major Deka.

The goal of the plan is to have at least five crews, or 25 members, trained by September, he said.

The EC-130J sorties will continue to take place in Harrisburg through the spring. The program instructors, many of whom are among the few MC-130J subject matter experts in the Air Force, will continue to develop the training in anticipation of the arrival of the streamlined airframe.

"The ability to get things right and set standards now is great," Sergeant Reed said. "It's certainly an outstanding time to be an aviator at AFSOC."

These sorties approach the culmination of AFSOC commander Lt. Gen. Donald Wurster's priority to recapitalize the fleet by acquiring up to 37 MC-130Js to replace aircraft that have been flying combat missions for up to 40 years.

The MC-130J will replace aging MC-130E Combat Talon I and MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft.

The Combat Shadow II will fly clandestine, low-level aerial refueling missions as well as infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions.


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  • 4 weeks later...

MARIETTA, Ga., March 29th, 2011 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] 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 here today.

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.â€

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.

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