Cannon welcomes new aircraft

Benna Sayyed

The 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base held an acceptance ceremony Thursday to welcome the arrival of the Air Force Special Operations Command’s premiere MC-130J Combat Shadow II.

The MC-130J is the latest variant of the C-130J Super Hercules four-engine turboprop aircraft. It is taking the place of the Special Operations Forces fleet of tankers 37 MC-130E and the MC-130P.

It is the first of at least 10 MC-130Js to be delivered to Cannon in the next fiscal year, according to Kaci Gardner, MC-130J maintenance crew chief.

Here are some facts about the aircraft:

• The MC-130J has five turboprop engines that are much more powerful than the four engines found in older aircraft.

• MC-130J has 25 percent more takeoff power and 20 percent more cruise power than older aircraft.

• An operating weight of 91,000 pounds makes it the lightest MC-130 ever.

• MC-130J can travel at speeds of 340 KTAC (Knots True Air Speed), which is around 375 to 380 mph at 22,000 feet.

• It can travel 3,000 miles without refueling.

• It has a lifespan of between 30 to 40 years. After that the aircraft will likely be refurbished to extend life.

• It has smaller crew. MC-130J crew will have five to six personnel. Crews of older fleet aircrafts were between eight to nine personnel.

• Pilots go through training for at least four to five months with a normal non-specialized mission aircraft, and another four to five months of training with the MC-130 J. An individual must undergo almost a year of daily training before assuming aircraft responsibilities.