With a heritage reaching back into the 1960s, the Hercules in its many guises has played a pivotal role within the RAF’s air transport fleet. In 1999, the original fleet of C130K aircraft was joined by today’s C-130J Super Hercules variant, which in 2013, became the sole Hercules model supporting RAF operations worldwide. The C130J will cease operations for the RAF on 31 March 2023.
Hercules at a glance
- The RAF’s C-130J Hercules is operated solely by 47 Squadron, with 24 Squadron providing the training mechanics via ‘Live Flying’ and ‘Immersive Synthetic’ scenarios tailored to meet the myriad of usage requirements.
- The C-130J’s improved engines, advanced propellers, digital engine-control system and underwing external fuel tanks, give the aircraft increased take-off thrust, better fuel efficiency and an extended range capability.
- The aircraft has a modern glass cockpit with head-up displays and is fully compatible with the use of night-vision goggles.
- The cargo compartment can be ‘rolled’ to accommodate multiple airdrop, medi-vac and general transportation requirements.
- The DE&S C-130J Delivery Team is made up of a mix of civil servants and Service personnel who are responsible for sustaining the fleet’s capabilities, providing logistic support and maintaining the availability of the aircraft to enable fleet tasking as directed.
- Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and Rolls Royce partnered with DE&S in 2006 to provide a dedicated ‘one stop shop’ maintenance and support capability known as the Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS).
- HIOS will continue to provide full support until 31 March 2023, after which the Delivery Team’s C-130J Drawdown & Disposal programme will be active.