2,500th Hercules Delivered

Posted 12 December 2015
Photo by Damien A. Guarnieri

Lockheed Martin delivered the 2,500th C-130 Hercules from its production line at Marietta, Georgia, on 11 December 2015. The milestone Hercules is an HC-130J Combat King II (Air Force serial number 13-5782) personnel recovery aircraft and is assigned to the US Air Force’s 71st Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB, Georgia. Col. Thomas Kunkel, commander of the 23rd Wing at Moody and a crew from the 71st RQS ferried the aircraft to the base near Valdosta. The US Air Force accepted the first production C-130A (Air Force serial number 53-3129) on 9 December 1956. That aircraft, later converted to an AC-130A Spectre gunship, was retired to the US Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida, in 1996. Today, the US Air Force is the world’s largest Hercules operator, which includes legacy C-130 and C-130J Super Hercules fleets. C-130s today are operated from nearly seventy nations and the global fleet has collectively logged more than 22,000,000 flight hours. The current production model is the C-130J Super Hercules, flown by nineteen operators in sixteen countries. The Super Hercules worldwide fleet has more than 1.3 million flight hours to its credit. C-130J variants include the C-130J/C-130J-30 combat delivery transport; KC-130J tankers; HC-130J search and rescue aircraft; EC-130J and MC-130J Special Operations aircraft; and the LM-100J commercial freighter. To date, C-130s have been produced or modified for more than seventy-five different missions.