Hercules keeps doing
more and more
for more people
Maritime patrol plane.
Passenger liner / convertible cargo.
Forest fire fighter.
Commercial air freighter.
Hercules has proven to be one of the most remarkable aircraft ever designed and built. Its simple, sturdy airframe has evolved into 45 versions of Hercules, some of these are featured above.
What can't be shown is the steady improvement in performance. Since it first flew, the basic Hercules airlifter has increased its range 52%. Payload is up 23%; engine power, 20%; cruise speed, 8% and structural life, 100%.
Now Lockheed is offering a new model, the L-400 twin-engine Hercules. Typical payloads are: 22,500 pounds for 550 nautical miles or 15,000 pounds for 1,325 nautical miles. Lockheed proposes to start production on the L-400 twin as soon as enough orders are received.
Lockheed knows how to make airlifters better and better. Just ask 43 nations and airlines that are flying various models of Hercules.
Background: The Lockheed L-400 was designed to serve the needs of a large number of Hercules operators for an economical airlifter for shorter range, lower payload missions. Studies began in the late 1970s. Several options—including a new aircraft—were considered, but a twin-engine derivative of the Hercules was seen as the most logical. The L-400, which would have been built on the C-130 assembly line in Marietta, Georgia, was expected to offer more than ninety percent spares, facilities, mission equipment, and support services commonality with the C-130. The program was officially launched in January 1980 with first flight expected by 1982 and, after FAA certification, delivery to the first customer by 1983. However, the market never developed and the program was shelved by the mid-1980s.