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International interest spreads in C-130J-SOF variant
SHEPHARD ^ | August 15, 2017 | Jim Dorschner

Posted on 08/18/2017 8:52:30 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

Lockheed Martin’s proposed C-130J-SOF export variant will be tailored to different international operators’ requirements as interest in the type grows worldwide.

According to Lockheed Martin, the C-130J-SOF will be the tenth J-model Super Hercules variant to enter production, including the MC-130J Commando II, which can trace its ancestry to the original MC-130E Combat Talon introduced more than 50 years ago.

The proven MC-130J Commando II, which entered service in 2011 and remains in production, provides a developmental baseline for the C-130J-SOF.

Tony Frese, VP of business development, air mobility and maritime missions at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, told Shephard that legacy characteristics from previous models have been included in the new version but there was room for a bespoke approach if desired by the operator.

‘The C-130J-SOF variant contains aspects and capabilities that have been included in previous C-130J variants and operator-specific configurations. Each SOF configuration would ultimately be tailored to each operator’s needs and in accordance with US government export approval,' Frese said.

‘The SOF [variant] is not based specifically on the MC-130J, but does include some of the same proven capabilities, technology and hardware found on the MC-130J, HC-130J [USAF SAR configuration] and other uniquely configured Super Herc[ule]s.'

While subject to customer specific configurations, the C-130J-SOF platform will be able to perform a full menu of missions, including: high/low altitude air drop operations; armed ISR & close air support; low level infiltration & exfiltration operations; aerial refuelling of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft; and forward area refuelling point (FARP) operations for other aircraft.

Doing so for international customers at an affordable price within a reasonable delivery timeframe is possible by taking advantage of advanced sensors, avionics, systems and weapons already developed for AFSOC J-models.

These include a chin-mounted EO/IR imaging system displaying day and night enhanced imagery in the combat systems operator (CSO) station and the pilot’s front panel for situational awareness, intelligence collection and targeting with a 360-degree field of regard in azimuth and +30 to -120 degrees field of regard in the horizontal.

The primary CSO station is on the flight deck, with the option of an additional station, which can monitor and control the EO/IR and radar systems, defensive aid systems, and fuel operations.

The CSO station(s) includes colour multipurpose displays with moving map and radar pages, radar cursor control, EO/IR system operations with a widescreen display for enhanced viewing of the EO/IR image and a common operator picture.

C-130J-SOF armament options include wing mounted Hellfire missiles and an internal 30mm GAU-23 Bushmaster gun using an Orbital ATK roll-on/roll-off pallet allowing installation in less than four hours.

Customers can configure the C-130J-SOF to receive aerial refuelling by either hose and drogue or from a boom, and it is capable delivering fuel to rotary-wing, fixed-wing and tiltrotor receivers via hose and drogue using under wing refuelling pods that can also provide engine running single point refuelling on the ground at FARPs.

The C-130J-SOF can also conduct the full range of personnel and cargo parachute delivery for resupply, personnel recovery, humanitarian relief, infiltration and exfiltration operations.

While facing competition from SOF support variants of the Airbus Military C295 and Leonardo C-27J, the more capable C-130J-SOF targets customers with advanced requirements.

Perhaps most prominent on the list of potential operators are France and Germany, which agreed in October 2016 to form a joint C-130J wing at Évreux airbase in France with full operational capability by 2021.

France has already ordered two C-130J-30 transports and two KC-130 tankers, with options on at least two more Hercules, while Germany is reportedly moving ahead with plans for an initial order of six, with up to six options.

Given that SOF support is one of the primary missions for the Franco-German wing, at least four to six of the Hercules on strength could well be C-130J-SOF variants.

Other potential customers include Israel, which is steadily building up its C-130J-30s fleet and has requirements for a number of SOF variants.

Canada, which is satisfied with its C-130J-30 Hercules transports, is hoping to replace four C-130T tankers with a multi-mission variant capable of supporting increasingly robust SOF worldwide.

South Korea’s large and well-equipped SOF have an increasingly urgent need for a number of multi-mission C-130J SOF variants capable of penetrating North Korea to complement US assets and augment existing C-130J and H-model transports.

Similarly, India is another satisfied C-130J-30 operator with requirements to support increasingly important SOF with a specialised, multi-mission platform. Norway, Denmark, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and other countries have similar requirements.

‘We are in conversations with operators around the world who are interested in the C-130J-SOF aircraft. As a member of the Super Hercules family, the SOF variant is a proven and unmatched platform that delivers results for critical Special Missions operations,' according to Frese.

‘We believe these attributes - coupled with the Super Herc[ules]’s ability to operate successfully in any number of environments and scenarios - make the C-130J-SOF a true global asset and a vital force multiplier. It’s important to emphasise that this Super Herc[ules] variant is the result of direct feedback from our international operators.’

Introduced at this year’s Paris Air Show, the aircraft represents the timely convergence of emerging requirements for highly capable, multi-mission air support to SOF around the world, and the invaluable experience garnered over decades of producing Hercules aircraft optimised for AFSOC and its predecessors going back to the Vietnam War.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: c130; lockheedmartin; specialops

1 posted on 08/18/2017 8:52:30 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Maybe the most versatile airplane in history..?

at least a top contender.

they have even once I believe landed it on a carrier, believe it or not.

also a U-2 on one occasion.

2 posted on 08/18/2017 8:57:52 PM PDT by gaijin
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To: gaijin

These planes can do anything but go to Mach 1.

3 posted on 08/18/2017 9:54:22 PM PDT by arthurus
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To: gaijin
"Maybe the most versatile airplane in history..?

at least a top contender.

they have even once I believe landed it on a carrier, believe it or not.

also a U-2 on one occasion."

It's got my vote (even though I HATE riding sideways).

What's that old joke, when the last B-52 is retired to Davis-Monthan, the crew will be ferried home in a C-130...."



I watched an AC-130H working over the DENI HQ in Panama City in the dark of the night. Then came by at first light to do BDA. What 12 hours before had been a multi-story stucco building had little left above knee-high, but there were outbuildings and palm trees that were 10 feet from the main structure that didn't have a mark on them. Incredible fire control precision from a flying platform shooting in the dark.

Puff the Magic Dragon indeed.
4 posted on 08/18/2017 11:42:00 PM PDT by Paal Gulli
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To: Paal Gulli

In the late 50s, we knew a U-2 pilot based in Japan.
He was an American Indian.

5 posted on 08/19/2017 5:11:36 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Baseball players, gangsters and musicians are remembered. But journalists are forgotten.)
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To: gaijin

6 posted on 08/19/2017 5:29:36 AM PDT by PLMerite ("Government should be done to cattle and not human beings." - John Milius)
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The C-130 is one those hindsight 20/20 things for me. My initial desire in the military was to be a C-130 mechanic or be associated with the program.

The waiting list for flight mechanic was 4 years back 82 5 he 70’s, and even then C-130 pipeline training wasn’t guaranteed.

To be associated with that airframe would have resulted in a lifetime of good solid employment opportunities. Ah... well, C’est la vie.

7 posted on 08/19/2017 5:29:39 AM PDT by Clutch Martin (Hot sauce aside, every culture has its pancake, just as every culture has its noodle.)
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