HomeNewsArticle Display

C-130s are SUVs of airlift

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Warner Robins Air Logistics Center workers here consider the C-130 Hercules the SUV of airlift.  The aircraft has been going strong for more than 50 years and with modernization efforts could last another 50 years.  (Courtesy photo)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Warner Robins Air Logistics Center workers here consider the C-130 Hercules the SUV of airlift. The aircraft has been going strong for more than 50 years and with modernization efforts could last another 50 years. (Courtesy photo)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- In a world where fighters are seen as the sleek Lamborghinis of the flying world, C-130s are still carrying the load as the SUVs of airlift. According to workers from of the C-130 system program office and the production people who maintain the aircraft here, that is just what it should be doing.

While smaller jet planes may get all of the attention, the mighty C-130 Hercules has its place firmly established in military warfare and peacetime operations, said Don Jarzynka, C-130 production branch chief.

"The C-130 can do things the faster, smaller aircraft just can't do," said Jarzynka. "They (jets) can't take off and land on short runways, and they can't go in low and deliver cargo and troops. That's the advantage of the C-130."

Col. Greg Postulka, C-130 system program office director, agrees.

"The mighty Herc has been carrying troops and everything they need to fight a war to the front lines since the '50s," he said.

Postulka believes that with modernization efforts under way, the Herc will last another 50 years.

Calling the weapon system the "SUV of airlift," Postulka said the aircraft operate throughout the Air Force, serving Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and theater commands. The aircraft is primarily used by Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard to fulfill a wide range of operational missions.

Both basic combat delivery and special mission versions of the aircraft perform a wide variety of roles including airlift, gunship duty, arctic re-supply, infiltrations, extractions, aeromedical missions, aerial spray missions, and firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service and natural disaster relief missions.

There are more C-130s than any other cargo aircraft in the Air Force inventory. The Hercules fleet includes 22 models and 700-plus aircraft used by eight major commands at 60 bases, as well as 600-plus aircraft for 23 foreign allied countries.

"Besides just moving bullets and beans, the C-130 is a highly versatile and flexible platform that has been modified to conduct several special ops missions," said Postulka. "These aircraft and the professional brave crews who fly them fight the war every day. The Air Force will be modifying more combat delivery C-130s into special ops aircraft soon."

The special operations fleet includes diverse platforms such as the AC-130H and U gunship. The gunship, with its 105 mm howitzer and 40 mm Bofors automatic cannon on its left side, flies primarily at night performing surveillance and illuminating troop movement. Jarzynka said the gunship can destroy an entire compound on its own.

As multifunction aircraft, the Combat Talon I and II's mission is to fly in low, pop up and drop out troops, cargo, bombs, leaflets and other airdrop items. Jarzynka said the Talons are low-level fliers that go in, map out an area, drop fliers and deliver supplies to the field.

The MC-130E/H conducts infiltrations into areas to re-supply or extract special operations forces and equipment. Those missions are conducted in adverse weather, at low level and over a long range.

Postulka said modernization of 519 combat delivery and special mission C-130s with the Avionics Modernization Program will bring about some great changes.

"We will have new capabilities, greater reliability and new life in our vital but aging fleet," he said.

The C-130 Avionics Modernization Program is expected to double the C-130 work force and keep the weapon system flying another 30 years.

The work force that maintains the C-130s can not sing the praises of the aircraft enough.

"Many of us who work on C-130s at Robins are fanatical about the aircraft," said Ken Franklin, C-130 avionics technician. "The F-15s (Eagle) are fast, the C-5s (Galaxy) are huge and the C-17s (Globemaster III) are new, but every time a Coast Guard C-130 makes a rescue, a special ops C-130 engages a target or a slick C-130 drops a 21,000-pound (bomb), we all feel proud that we contributed something to make it all possible."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#ICYMI Yesterday, #USAF Chief of Staff @GenDaveGoldfein had the privilege of presenting the Air Force Cross to Tech… https://t.co/E1f8TBgJYn
Planning to visit the National #911PentagonMemorial? Know before you go; the memorial will close temporarily later… https://t.co/8dBsvEl1gW
RT @ActingSecAF: Op-ed | The U.S. Space Force must be independent but not insular - https://t.co/VAoFe3oXF1 https://t.co/swaIMlVVDZ
👋 Hello @CityOfDallas, #AmericasAirForce is heading your way Sept. 27. Mark your calendars and meet us there!… https://t.co/MWnoLe8aSF
RT @DeptofDefense: Can we fix it?! 👷 $106,176 is how much money the @usairforce saved, thanks to Tech. Sgt. Keith Boudreau’s innovative 3D-…
RT @WomenInAviation: USAF women pilots to provide inspiration to future female aviators https://t.co/HsQuy6RKSH #WomeninAviation #GIAD19 #F
RT @AFResearchLab: "The technologies of tomorrow will exist because of the "Basic Research" of today." Read more on how we're collaboratin…
#WatchLive today at 9:00 A.M. EDT as Barbara M. Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force nominee, testifies before Congr… https://t.co/7DsAHZSZRL
RT @PACAF: #PACAF photo of the Week! #Defenders from bases around the world converged on #Guam to drill in close quarters urban combat as…
An Oral History of 9/11 - Commander Anthony Barnes, "That first hour was mass confusion because there was so much e… https://t.co/cqmFnxB9LA
RT @ActingSecAF: We will #NeverForget the lives lost, both victims and first responders, or those Airmen who have sacrificed so much since…
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks @JohnBoozman & @RepGaramendi for hosting an early #USAF birthday celebration & honoring the service of our #Airmen
RT @DeptofDefense: WATCH LIVE: @POTUS Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, & Chairman @thejointstaff @USMC Gen. Joe Dunfor…
RT @AirmanMagazine: The paint job on these @48FighterWing F-15s is similar to that of the P-47 Thunderbolt, the primary aircraft used by th…
Six years ago, Lt. Col. Dan Magruder lost his friend and fellow #AirForce Veteran to suicide. Their training didn't… https://t.co/fY7sVgrriF
#ICYMI, the #F22 turned 22! Happy Birthday! https://t.co/KH4m6FnJk5
RT @Eagles: Thanks to the 177th Fighter Wing for today's amazing flyover! #AFFlyover | #FlyEaglesFly https://t.co/s7EJqi1O1l
RT @AirmanMagazine: A B-2 Spirit from @Whiteman_AFB received fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker above the Norwegian Sea, Sept. 5, 2019. This e…