Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
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The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin). Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. More than 40 variants of the Hercules, including civilian versions marketed as the Lockheed L-100, operate in more than 60 nations.
The C-130 entered service with the U.S. in 1956, followed by Australia and many other nations. During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in numerous military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft to mark 50 years of continuous service with its original primary customer, which for the C-130 is the United States Air Force. The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules currently being produced.
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.
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. 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. 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.” Both Hibbard and Johnson signed the proposal and the company won the contract for the now-designated Model 82 on 2 July 1951.
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.
After the two prototypes were completed, production began in Marietta, Georgia, where over 2,300 C-130s have been built through 2009.
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 (2,720 kg) of fuel capacity for a total capacity of 40,000 lb (18,140 kg).
The C-130B model was developed to complement the A-models that had previously been delivered, and incorporated new features, particularly increased fuel capacity in the form of auxiliary tanks built into the center wing section and an AC electrical system. Four-bladed Hamilton Standard propellers replaced the Aeroproducts three-blade propellers that distinguished the earlier A-models. The C-130B had ailerons with boost increased from 2,050 psi (14.1 MPa) to 3,000 psi (21 MPa), as well as uprated engines and four-blade propellers that were standard until the J-model’s introduction.
An electronic reconnaissance variant of the C-130B was designated C-130B-II. A total of 13 aircraft were converted. The C-130B-II was distinguished by its false external wing fuel tanks, which were disguised signals intelligence (SIGINT) receiver antennas. These pods were slightly larger than the standard wing tanks found on other C-130Bs. Most aircraft featured a swept blade antenna on the upper fuselage, as well as extra wire antennas between the vertical fin and upper fuselage not found on other C-130s. Radio call numbers on the tail of these aircraft were regularly changed so as to confuse observers and disguise their true mission.
The extended-range C-130E model entered service in 1962 after it was developed as an interim long-range transport for the Military Air Transport Service. Essentially a B-model, the new designation was the result of the installation of 1,360 US gal (5,150 L) Sargent Fletcher external fuel tanks under each wing’s midsection and more powerful Allison T56-A-7A turboprops. The hydraulic boost pressure to the ailerons was reduced back to 2,050 psi (14.1 MPa) as a consequence of the external tanks’ weight in the middle of the wingspan. The E model also featured structural improvements, avionics upgrades and a higher gross weight. Australia took delivery of 12 C130E Hercules during 1966–67 to supplement the 12 C-130A models already in service with the RAAF. Sweden and Spain fly the TP-84T version of the C-130E fitted for aerial refueling capability.
The KC-130 tankers, originally C-130F procured for the US Marine Corps (USMC) in 1958 (under the designation GV-1) are equipped with a removable 3,600 US gal (13,626 L) stainless steel fuel tank carried inside the cargo compartment. The two wing-mounted hose and drogue aerial refueling pods each transfer up to 300 US gal per minute (19 L per second) to two aircraft simultaneously, allowing for rapid cycle times of multiple-receiver aircraft formations, (a typical tanker formation of four aircraft in less than 30 minutes). The US Navy‘s C-130G has increased structural strength allowing higher gross weight operation.
- Crew: 5 (2 pilots, CSO/navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster)
- Capacity: 72,000 lb (33,000 kg) payload
o C-130E/H/J cargo hold: length, 40 ft (12.19 m); width, 119 in (3.02 m); height, 9 ft (2.74 m). Rear ramp: length, 123 in (3.12 m); width, 119 in (3.02 m)
o C-130J-30 cargo hold: length, 55 ft (16.76 m); width, 119 in (3.02 m); height, 9 ft (2.74 m). Rear ramp: length, 123 inches (3.12 m); width, 119 in (3.02 m)
o 92 passengers or
o 64 airborne troops or
o 74 litter patients with 5 medical crew or
o 6 pallets or
o 2–3 Humvees or
- Length: 97 ft 9 in (29.79 m)
- Wingspan: 132 ft 7 in (40.41 m)
- Height: 38 ft 3 in (11.66 m)
- Wing area: 1,745 sq ft (162.1 m2)
- Airfoil:’ root: NACA 64A318; tip: NACA 64A412
- Empty weight: 75,800 lb (34,382 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 155,000 lb (70,307 kg)
- Powerplant: 4 × Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines, 4,590 shp (3,420 kW) each
- Propellers: 4-bladed constant-speed fully feathering reversible propellers, 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m) diameter
- Maximum speed: 320 kn (368 mph; 593 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
- Cruise speed: 292 kn (336 mph; 541 km/h)
- Range: 2,050 nmi (2,359 mi; 3,797 km)
- Service ceiling: 33,000 ft (10,000 m) empty
23,000 ft (7,000 m) with42,000 lb (19,000 kg) payload
- Rate of climb: 1,830 ft/min (9.3 m/s)
- Takeoff distance: 3,586 ft (1,093 m) at 155,000 lb (70,307 kg) max gross weight;
1,400 ft (427 m) at 155,000 lb (70,307 kg) gross weight