HC-130J Combat King II

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Product Type:

Personnel Recovery Aircraft
with Aerial Refueling Capability

Using Service (US):

Air Force (USAF)

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractor:

Lockheed Martin Corp.

The HC-130J Combat King II

About the HC-130J:

The Lockheed Martin HC-130J Combat King II is a military special mission and transport/aerial refueling aircraft. The HC-130J is the only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the U.S. Air Force inventory and is an extended-range version of the C-130J Hercules tactical airlift aircraft. The aircraft's mission is to rapidly deploy to austere airfields and denied territory for expeditionary, all weather personnel recovery operations to include air-drop, air-land, helicopter aerial refueling, and forward area ground refueling missions. The HC-130J is based on the fully tested, combat proven KC-130J aerial refueling tanker, which is in service with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Helicopter aerial refueling can be conducted at night with blacked out communication with up to two helicopters simultaneously. Additionally, forward area refueling point operations can be executed to support forces on the ground.

The HC-130J is powered by four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines with 4,591 shp each.

In April 2006, the personnel recovery mission was transferred back to the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base (AFB), Virginia. From 2003 to 2006, the mission was under the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Previously, HC-130s were assigned to the Air Combat Command from 1992 to 2003. The 71st and 79th Rescue Squadrons in Air Combat Command, the 550th Special Operations Squadron in the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), the 920th Rescue Group in Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and the 106th Rescue Wing, 129th RQW and 176th Wing in the Air National Guard (ANC) will operate the aircraft.

The HC-130J is a result of the HC/MC-130 recapitalization program and replaces Air Combat Command's aging fleet of HC-130P/N King aircraft. The HC-130J achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on April 25, 2013.

The HC-130J is equipped with dual inertial navigation and global positioning systems (INS/GPS); night vision goggle compatible interior and exterior lighting; forward-looking infrared (FLIR); BAE Systems AN/ALR-56M radar warning receiver (RWR), AN/AAR-47(V) missile warning system (MWS), and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system; Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) provisions; satellite and data-burst communications; dual under-wing air refueling pods; and the ability to receive fuel inflight via its Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI).

The HC-130J is operated by a crew of five, including three officers (pilot, co-pilot and combat system officer) and two loadmasters.

The Combat King II made its first flight in July 2010 and the first two production models were delivered in September 2011 - with two more aircraft arriving in August 2012. The first Air Combat Command aircraft was delivered to the 79th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB on September 24, 2011. The first training aircraft was delivered to the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB on September 29, 2011.

As of September 30, 2016, there are 19 HC-130Js in the USAF aircraft inventory.



HC-130J Production Forecast:

A 15-year HC-130J production forecast is available through Forecast International's Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year HC-130J production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International's Military Aircraft Forecast service.


The HC-130J's mission is to rapidly deploy to austere airfields and denied territory for expeditionary, all weather personnel recovery operations to include airdrop, airland, helicopter aerial refueling, and forward area ground refueling missions. When tasked, the HC-130J also conducts humanitarian assistance operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation, and noncombatant evacuation operations.

FY 2020 & FY 2021 - HC-130J DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Northrop Grumman, and Rolls-Royce plc.

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Military Aircraft Forecast:

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DoD Spending in FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016, FY 2017 and FY 2018 + 5-year forecast

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Military Aircraft Forecast
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