Friday, February 03, 2012

The Historical Herky Bird

C-130 Deliveries Hit 2,400: Lockheed Martin announced the delivery of the 2400th C-130 Hercules that it has manufactured on its production line in Marietta, Ga. The company said Marietta's Hercules assembly activities represent "the longest continuously operating military aircraft production line in history." The 2,400th C-130 is an Air Force MC-130J special-mission aircraft destined for beddown at Cannon AFB, N.M. This aircraft's delivery follows a record year for C-130J production in 2011, with 33 C-130Js supplied, a new high for the C-130J model, according to the company. These 33 C-130Js were in six different configurations for six operators: Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, the Marine Corps, Canada, India, and Qatar. According to the Air Force, the company delivered the first C-130s in December 1956.  (Image from Wikipedia.  "C-130s from the: US, Canada, Australia and Israel [foreground to background]")
Further... from The Wiki:
Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 60 nations. 
During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in countless military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. The family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft—after the English Electric Canberra, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95, and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker—to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Air Force. The C-130 is also the only military aircraft to remain in continuous production for 50 years with its original customer, as the updated C-130J Super Hercules.
I think that's amazing, considering the way technology has changed every facet of life since 1956.  Like the BUFF and the KC-135, a few of the Herky Birds are older than many of the pilots that fly them.  Unlike the BUFF and the -135, there are many NEW -130s on the ramps of Air Force bases.  That's amazing too, but not in a good way.


  1. That "music" reminds me of what it's like to ride in the back of a -130: loud and obnoxious. But the vid was cool with the sound muted. Thks!

  2. I'm really an aviation retard...but I think #1 son flies in an RJ-135.

    Buck, it always amazes me when I watch the B-52s come and go at Barksdale. They come in for a landing, and it looks like the damn thing is almost stationary!

    I'm like, "How in the hell is that enormous thing not falling like a rock from the sky???"

    And, they've been around since 1952 or something?!?!?!? Amazing.

    Of course, the tech inside is much different now...but still...amazing those BUFFs are!

  3. I think your SN1 flies in the Rivet Joint variant of the RC-135, Andy. But there are a LOT o' variants.

    I hear ya about the BUFFs. I used to LOVE watching them come and go whenever I went down to Minot, back in the day. Dunno if I'd wanna fly in one on a regular basis, tho.

  4. Out on the Nellis range, often times the B-52 will be in the valley below you! Those suckers fly low. No more of that strato stuff (well, except for the cruise missile launchers who really never even get close to the war zone anymore).

  5. Doctor: It's amazing those old BUFFs can stand up to the stresses of low altitude flight.

  6. Funny story, Buck

    Circa Vietnam the Marines didn't have any C-130 gunships. During an Aug, 68 attack on the Marine base at Marble mountain south of DaNang the Air Force DASC handed control of Spectre (Call-sign of AC-130 gunship which had flown up from TSN, AFB@Saigon) off to the Marine TADC (Tac Air Direction Center) at DaNang(the USMC equivalent of the USAF TACC at Saigon (Tactical Air Control System, of which DASCs [Direct Air Support Centers] were a part) because they had direct land-line communication with the Marine gnd units around Marble Mt and the Air Force DASC did not. Well, the Marines had so much fun with their new toy that after their business at Marble Mt was finished, they directed it hither & yon all over I-Corps all night supporting other Marine units before they finally gave it back. TACC in Saigon called the DASC@DaNang up constantly wondering where the H their aircraft was and complaining bitterly they wanted control of it back! LOL!

    wv: bable--what I do all the time :)


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