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 four 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.