|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 (including Head-Up Displays (HUDs) for each pilot), reduced crew requirements (2 pilots Ś no navigator or flight engineer), increased reliability and up to 27% lower operating costs. The C-130J 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 (C-130J-30) and Hercules C. Mk 5 (C-130J). |
The largest operator of the new model will be the USAF, who are 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 the USAF, United States Marine Corps (KC-130J tanker), 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.