Lockheed Martin delivered the 2,600th C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter last week, the customer was the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.

This milestone Hercules is an MC-130J Commando II Special Operations airlifter assigned to 9th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

A U.S. Air Force crew ferried its new MC-130J to its home on Oct. 22, flying this Herc from Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Georgia, site, where all production C-130s have been built.

The C-130J Super Hercules is the current C-130 production model and the global fleet recently surpassed 2 million flight hours.

The aircraft has had a low accident rate in general. The Royal Air Force recorded an accident rate of about one aircraft loss per 250,000 flying hours over the last 40 years, placing it behind Vickers VC10s and Lockheed TriStars with no flying losses.

USAF C-130A/B/E-models had an overall attrition rate of 5% as of 1989 as compared to 1–2% for commercial airliners in the U.S., according to the NTSB, 10% for B-52 bombers, and 20% for fighters (F-4, F-111), trainers (T-37, T-38), and helicopters (H-3).

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Fantastic achievement…. first entered service in 1956, and still rolling off the production line…. I hope i’m Still in as good shape at 63!


Il be More impressed if by 63 you’ve had, a midlife Skelton extension, back strengthening and replacement eyes and ears.

Andy P

Its impressive isn’t it ? We’ve got a few aircraft that have that sort of longevity, saw something about Chinooks fairly recently and they were predicting that they could be in service a hundred years after first coming into service, can see the Herkypigs being the same.


It’s great, some chinooks that served in the falklands are still serving today, upgraded but same hellos. And we have even older gazelles still serving. We are to quick to sell or scrap our old millitary gear, but we british do deserve the newest best gear out.


I served with the First Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam and I took a lot of rides in CH-47s in my misspent youth. As a historian I like to joke that while time goes on the specifications remain the same the Marine Corps used the Landing Vehicle Tracked in World War two which transported twenty-four marines. The Army used the M-3 Half-track which carried nine infantry men. So when helicopters came around the Marines chose CH -46 and the Army choose the UH-1D number 65107 which I was a door gunner in Vietnam. When I was with the Pennsylvania Army… Read more »


Thank god the decision to keep 14 C130s in the UK Millitary inventory was decided, they are great for special ops besides much more. Could they be used for air to air refuelling of British helicopters to vastly increase range and operations capability’s, our Merlins already have the pipework and so do the british C130s don’t they? So wouldnt take much effort to get up and running, we shouldn’t have sold all the other smaller C130s! But the Atlas is a nice aircraft and getting better all the time.


And converting some for air to air refuelling would stop the huge (biggest RAF Aircraft) voyager having to refuel everything and seems like expensive overkill for some missions. Does the voyager contract to refuel cover helicopters also? And what about refuelling in ares where voyager can’t operate like rough landing strips ect, what do we do then?

The 300

Our C-130’s only have the pipe work to be a receiver aircraft.


that’s assuming the early and emergency conversions completed during/soon after Falkland’s conflict are long gone….but we do have some history using Hercs for AAR

The 300

That was the K model and they’re long gone. The J model does do AAR but only as a receiver.


I think the remnants of the Ks are in a field next to the WCML in staffordshire


I live near Marine Corps Base Quantico and every year I go to the “Marine Corps toy show” otherwise known as Modern Marine Day and that day was 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the C-130 and I joked with the Lockheed-Martin people that I had seen my first C-130 when I was ten years old and seven years later I was making parachute drops out of them. They gave me a very nice souvenir patch.