Lockheed C-130 Hercules, USMC
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, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over forty variants and versions of the Hercules, including a civilian one marketed as the Lockheed L-100, operate in more than 60 nations.
The C-130 entered service with the U.S. in the 1950s, followed by Australia and others. During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in numerous military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft—after the English Electric Canberra, B-52 Stratofortress, Tu-95 Bear, and KC-135 Stratotanker—to mark 50 years of continuous service with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Air Force. The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules currently being produced.
The Korean War, which began in June 1950, showed that World War II-era piston-engine transports—Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars, Douglas C-47 Skytrains and Curtiss C-46 Commandos—were inadequate for modern warfare. The new transport would have a capacity of 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or 64 paratroopers in a cargo compartment that was approximately 41 feet (12 m) long, 9 feet (2.7 m) high, and 10 feet (3.0 m) wide. Unlike transports derived from passenger airliners, it was to be designed from the ground-up as a combat transport with loading from a hinged loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage.
A key feature was the introduction of the Allison T56 turboprop powerplant, first developed specifically for the C-130. At the time, the turboprop was a new application of turbine engines that used exhaust gases to turn a propeller, which offered greater range at propeller-driven speeds compared to pure turbojets, which were faster but consumed more fuel. As was the case on helicopters of that era, such as the UH-1 Huey, turboshafts produced much more power for their weight than piston engines. Lockheed would subsequently use the same engines and technology in the Lockheed L-188 Electra. That aircraft failed financially in its civilian configuration but was successfully adapted into the Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol and submarine attack aircraft where the efficiency and endurance of turboprops excelled.
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From Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules