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. On December 2006 the C-130 was the third aircraft (after the English Electric Canberra in May 2001 and the B-52 Stratofortress in January 2005) to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer (in this case the United States Air Force).
Capable of short takeoffs and landings from unprepared runways, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, and for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refuelling and aerial firefighting. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more than 50 years of service the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations.
The extended range C-130E model entered service in 1962. The increased range was achieved by underwing 5,150 liter (1,360 US gallon) fuel tanks, (center-section) wing-mounted auxiliary fuel tanks and more powerful Allison T-56-A-7A turboprops. The E model also featured structural improvements, avionics upgrades and a higher gross weight.
By kjfitz @ 2007-04-02 15:25:59