The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop cargo aircraft and the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 50 nations.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the newest version of the Hercules and the only model still produced. Externally similar to the classic Hercules in general appearance, the J model is a very different aircraft. These differences include new Rolls-Royce Allison AE2100 turboprops with six-bladed composite scimitar propellers, digital avionics, reduced crew requirements, increased reliability and up to 27% lower operating costs. The C-30J is also available in a standard-length or stretched -30 variant. Lockheed received the launch order for the J from the RAF, who ordered 25 aircraft, with first deliveries beginning in 1999 as Hercules C. Mk 4 and Hercules C. Mk5
The largest operator for C-130J will be the USAF, who is ordering the aircraft in increasing numbers, although as of 2005 Congress announced C-130J acquisition would be dramatically cut. Current operators of the C-130J are United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, U.S. Air National Guard, US Coast Guard, Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Danish Air Force and the Italian Air Force. Total procurement of C-130J aircraft has reached 186 orders as of December 2006.
The Hercules holds the record for the largest and heaviest aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier.
The C-130J is a modification of the C-130H, undertaken by Lockheed Martin at company expense, with intended sales to the United States and various foreign markets. The C-130J modification includes a two-crew flight member station, upgraded Allison AE 2100D3 engines, enhanced performance and improved reliability and maintainability.
The C-130 has been a part of some notable offensive operations including the Vietnam War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Entebbe raid, Falklands War of 1982, Gulf War, Afghanistan invasion and Iraq invasion of 2003.