The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. C-130s operate throughout the U.S. Air Force, serving with Air Mobility Command (stateside based), theater commands, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war situations. Basic and specialized versions of the aircraft airframe perform a diverse number of roles, including airlift support, Arctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, aerial spray missions, fire-fighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service and natural disaster relief missions. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt Dave Nolan)
A C-130 uses LAPES to drop cargo during an exercise. The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the intratheater portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for paradropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. Four decades have elapsed since the Air Force issued its original design specification, yet the remarkable C-130 remains in production. The initial production model was the C-130A, with four Allison T56-A-11 or -9 turboprops. A total of 219 were ordered and deliveries began in December 1956. Two DC-130A's (originally GC-130A's) were built as drone launchers/directors, carrying up to four drones on underwing pylons. All special equipment was removable, permitting the aircraft to be used as freighters, assault transports, or ambulances. The C-130B introduced Allison T56-A-7 turboprops and the first of 134 entered Air Force service in April 1959. C-130B's are used in aerial fire fighting missions by Air Nati
Silhouetted by the setting sun, a C-130 Hercules aircraft prepares to land during a 10-ship air drop exercise being conducted by the 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel C. Perez.)
MC-130P Combat Shadow refuels a Marine Corps CH-53E
An Air Force MC-130P Combat Shadow refuels a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion. The MC-130P flies clandestine or low visibility, low-level missions into politically sensitive or hostile territory to provide air refueling for special operations helicopters. The MC-130P primarily flies its single- or multi-ship missions at night to reduce detection and intercept by airborne threats. Secondary mission capabilities include airdrop of small special operations teams, small bundles, and zodiac and combat rubber raiding craft; as well as night-vision goggle takeoffs and landings, tactical airborne radar approaches and in-flight refueling as a receiver. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Eric C. Tausch)
The mission of the MC-130E Combat Talon I and MC-130H Combat Talon II is to provide global, day, night and adverse weather capability to airdrop and airland personnel and equipment in support of U.S. and allied special operations forces. The MC-130E also has a deep penetrating helicopter refueling role during special operations missions. These aircraft are equipped with in-flight refueling equipment, terrain-following, terrain-avoidance radar, an inertial and global positioning satellite navigation system, and a high-speed aerial delivery system. The special navigation and aerial delivery systems are used to locate small drop zones and deliver people or equipment with greater accuracy and at higher speeds than possible with a standard C-130. The aircraft is able to penetrate hostile airspace at low altitudes and crews are specially trained in night and adverse weather operations.
The AC-130 gunship's primary missions are close air support, air interdiction and force protection. Missions in close air support are troops in contact, convoy escort and urban operations. Air interdiction missions are conducted against preplanned targets or targets of opportunity. Force protection missions include air base defense and facilities defense. (U.S. Air Force photo)