Airplanes of the Past Home Page



C-130 Hercules Transport of the U.S. Air Force

C-130 Hercules Design & Mission

Lockheed C-130A Hercules S/N 57-0457, 118th TAW Lockheed C-130 Hercules at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson (Staff Photo)

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin.

Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft.

C-130 Model Evolution

Four decades have elapsed since the U.S. Air Force issued its original design specification, yet the C-130 remains in production.

The initial production model was the C-130A, with four Allison turboprop engines. A total of 219 were ordered and deliveries began in December 1956.

The C-130B introduced Allison T56-A-7 turboprop engines and the first of 134 aircraft of this model entered USAF service in May 1959. Introduced in August of 1962, the 389 C-130Es that were ordered used the same Allison T56-A-7 engine, but added two 1,290 gallon external fuel tanks and an increased maximum takeoff weight capability.

In June of 1974, the first of 308 C-130Hs were delivered, with the more powerful Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engine. Nearly identical to the C-130E externally, the new engine brought major performance improvements to the aircraft.

The latest C-130 to be produced, the C-130J, entered the inventory in February 1999. With the noticeable difference of a six-bladed composite propeller coupled to a Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engine, the C-130J brings substantial performance improvements over all previous models. The C-130J-30, a stretch version with a 15-foot fuselage extension, increases the capabilities even more. To date, the Air Force has taken delivery of 77 C-130J aircraft from Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics Company.

C-130 Hercules Deployment

Today, the C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. The C-130 operates throughout the U.S. Air Force, serving with Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Pacific Air Forces, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war situations.

C-130 Photos by Airplanes of the Past

Lockheed C-130 Hercules 51364 of the Texas Air National Guard in Tyler, Texas
Lockheed C-130 Hercules on display at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum in Tyler, Texas
Lockheed C-130A Hercules S/N 57-0457, 118th TAW, in Tucson at the Pima Air Museum
Lockheed C-130A Hercules S/N 57-0457, 118th TAW
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526, Hill Aerospace Space Museum, Hill AFB, Ogden, Utah
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526, Hill Aerospace Space Museum, Hill AFB, Ogden, Utah
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526, with the chapel in the background at the Hill Aerospace Museum
NC-130B Hercules, S/N 57-0526
C-130E Hercules, S/N 621787, on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
C-130E Hercules, S/N 621787, on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
C-130E Hercules, S/N 63-7868, Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia
C-130E Hercules, S/N 63-7868 at Robins AFB
AC-130 gunship at the Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin, AFB, Florida
AC-130 gunship at Eglin AFB in Florida
AC-130 gunship at Eglin, AFB
AC-130 gunship at Eglin AFB in Florida
AC-130 gunship, USAF Armament Museum, Eglin, AFB, Florida
Nose section of the AC-130 gunship at Eglin AFB in Florida
Nose art on AC-130 "First Lady" - USAF Armament Museum, Eglin, AFB, Florida
Nose art on AC-130 "First Lady" at Eglin, AFB, Florida
C-130 aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB AMARG in October, 2012
C-130 aircraft at Davis-Monthan AFB AMARG in October, 2012


C-130 Hercules Photographs by Our Friends and Supporters

Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico ... 27th Special Operations Wing
Western Home of America's Air Commandos
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico ... 27th Special Operations Wing
AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, on display at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
Cockpit area of AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
Cockpit area of AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, on display at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
Gunship logo on the AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, at Cannon AFB, Clovis, New Mexico
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
Gunship logo on the AC-130H Spectre Gunship, S/N 69-6572, on display at Cannon AFB, Clovis, New Mexico
Plaque about the AC-130H Spectre Gunship, Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
Plaque about the AC-130H Spectre Gunship, Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
MC-130E Combat Talon I, S/N 64-0523,at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
MC-130E Combat Talon I, S/N 64-0523, on display at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico
C-130 Combat Talon at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, New Mexico
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
C-130 Combat Talon on display at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, New Mexico
C-130J Super Hercules at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, New Mexico
(photo by Andrew Hersey)
C-130J Super Hercules at the 2014 Cannon AFB Air Show, Clovis, New Mexico

Historic Postcard of the C-130 Hercules from the Airplanes Of The Past Collection

U.S. Air Force Lockheed YC-130 Hercules at takeoff, as shown in this historic postcard
U.S. Air Force Lockheed YC-130 Hercules at takeoff