Image of a Hercules C130 aircraft, taking off from RAF Brize Norton
Image of a Hercules C130 aircraft, taking off from RAF Brize Norton.
The C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft is the workhorse of the RAF's Air Transport (AT) fleet and is based at RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire , where it is operated by Nos 24, 30 and 47 Squadrons. The fleet comprises a mixture of C-130K C1/C3 and C-130J C4/C5 aircraft.
The C1 and C3 aircraft are used primarily to carry troops, passengers or freight and are capable of carrying up to 128 passengers, or 20 tonnes of palletised freight or vehicles, for up to 2000nmls. The freight bay can accommodate a range of wheeled or tracked vehicles, or up to seven pallets of general freight. In the aeromedical evacuation role either 64 or 82 stretchers can be carried, depending on the mark of aircraft and the stretcher configuration. The maximum unrefuelled ferry range is 3500nmls, which can be extended to over 4000nmls by air-to-air refuelling. The other main role of the C-130 is Transport Support (TS), which is the airborne delivery of personnel or stores by airdrop. In this role the aircraft supports airborne operations conducted by 16 Air Assault Brigade by the aerial delivery of paratroops, stores and equipment. The aircraft is particularly valuable in its TS role as it can be operated from unprepared and semi-prepared surfaces by day or by night.
The majority of aircraft are fitted with defensive infrared countermeasure equipment, whilst some aircraft used for special tasks have an additional, enhanced defensive-aids suite comprising a Skyguardian radarwarning receiver, a chaff and flare countermeasure dispensing system and a missile approach warning system. The C3 is also equipped with station-keeping equipment, which enables the aircraft to maintain its airborne position in a large formation in thick cloud or bad weather where the other formation members cannot be seen