Lockheed Martin delivered the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s first HC-130J Combat King II on April 2, 2020 to a crew from the 920th Rescue Wing (RQW) from Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. This HC-130J will be operated by the 39th Rescue Squadron (RQS), which is part of the 920th RQW.
These Reservists are long-time operators of legacy HC-130 P/N Combat King combat search-and-rescue aircraft, flying and maintaining HC-130s since the 1960s – using HC-130s to save more than 3,000 lives. The HC-130J is the sole dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform operated by the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.
The 920th RQW and 39th RQS also have the distinction of being the Air Force Reserve’s only HC-130J operators and will eventually have an HC-130J fleet to support mission requirements.
Like others in the U.S. Air Force Rescue community, the 920th RQW and the 39th RQS live by the motto, «That Others May Live», which reflects the mission of supporting combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. These crews rely on HC-130s to also extend the range its HH-60 Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopters, which were manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business in Stratford, Connecticut.
Often tasked for airdrop, airland, and helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward-area ground refueling missions, the HC-130’s mission capabilities also include humanitarian aid operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation and noncombatant evacuation operations.
«From supporting humanitarian relief efforts on the Florida coast to making combat rescues in Southeast Asia, the 920th’s HC-130s have exemplified the reputation of being tried and true workhorses for 60 years», said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. «As we salute one fleet for a lifetime’s worth of work, we are also excited to commemorate a new era with the arrival of the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s first HC-130J Combat King II. This HC-130J provides the Citizen Airmen with increased power, capability and performance to continue to support critical missions close to home and around the world».
Compared to legacy platforms, the HC-130J Combat King II offers significant performance and capabilities advancements, to include fuel efficiencies, improvement in payload/range capabilities, an integrated defensive suite, automated maintenance fault reporting, high-altitude ramp and door hydraulics, and unmatched situational awareness with its digital avionics and dual Head Up Displays.
The HC-130J is one of nine production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. With more than 450 aircraft delivered, the C-130J is the airlifter of choice for 20 nations. The global Super Hercules fleet has more than 2 million flight hours of experience supporting almost any mission requirement – any time, any place.
The U.S. government operates the largest C-130J Super Hercules fleet in the world. This delivery continues the U.S. government’s transition to the C-130J as the common platform across Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marine Corps. The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command currently operate a mixed fleet of C-130J and older Hercules aircraft.