C-130J Hercules

Who flies the Hercules C-130J C4/5

Used for operational missions involving parachute ops and air despatch.

  1. 30 Squadron
    RAF Brize Norton


  • Engines: Four Allison AE 2100D3 turboprops
  • Thrust: 4700shp each
  • Max speed: 320kts
  • Length: 34.34m
  • Max altitude: 40,000ft
  • Span: 40.38m
  • Aircrew: 3


The RAF has a total of 25 C-130J C4/C5 aircraft. The C4 is almost the same size as the current C3 aircraft, but with a slightly shorter fuselage, while the C5 is the same size as the C1.

The main role of the Hercules C-130J is also Tactical Air Transport (TacAT), and its capabilities are broadly similar to that of the C-130K. However, its engines and advanced propellers, coupled with a digital engine-control system, give the C-130J increased take-off thrust and better fuel efficiency than its predecessor. The aircraft also has a revised flight deck with modern glass-cockpit and head-up displays allowing two-pilot flight deck operation. The cockpit of the aircraft is fully compatible with the use of night-vision goggles and, like the C-130K, it is equipped with station-keeping equipment that enables the aircraft to maintain its airborne position in a large formation in poor weather.

In addition to its TacAT role, the C-130J can also be used in the AT role, offering similar range and payload to the C-130K, operating either strategically from a Main Operating Base, or tactically from a Deployed Operating Base.

Hercules C4 recognition

Externally, the C4 and C5 versions of the Hercules are almost identical to the existing C1s and C3s currently in service. On the newer aircraft however, the refuelling probe (when fitted) is mounted on the left-hand side of the aircraft above the cockpit. The new engines also have six-bladed propellers as opposed to four on the older aircraft and the new aircraft do not have the external under-wing fuel tanks fitted to the C1 and C3. The C4 version has two 'plugs' inserted into the fuselage to extend it by some 15ft (4.58m) longer than the C5.

In flight

Hercules C130J in flight

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