The Lockheed C-130 (a.k.a. Hercules) has been around since the late 1950's. It has undergone may updates but has remain the primary tactical transport of many air forces around the world. In fact the C-130 has become a bit of a problem for some: it's best replacement is just a later model of the same. Associated with the long life is the aircraft's use in many ancillary roles. It has been used to snatch the parachutes of descending spy satellite camera film cassettes in mid-air; it is used to hunt hurricanes; it is used to spread propaganda; it is used as a bomber; it is used to carry the single largest airborne artillery piece into action; it is used as a signals intelligence aircraft; it is used as an airborne helicopter refueler; and that just names a few of it's more mundane roles. The roles have brought a profusion of letters; C-130... AC-130, KC-130, EC-130.
In recent years, Lockheed has attempted to bring the venerable aircraft up to date with the C-130K. This has involved digital avionics, newer more efficient power plants, and an airframe stretch. This has had some teething problems but looks set to start a new line in the aircraft's long history.
At Wright Patterson an AC-130 (Spectre) rests its last days as an exhibit
EC-130 nose art from Davis-Monthan.
An EC-130's under wing generator. This aircraft was at Nellis for the USAF 50th birthday bash.
AC-130 Spectre 'Azrael' at USAF Mueseum, Dayton, OH. (Oct 2004)
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