Lockheed Martin delivered the first HC-130J Combat King II combat search and rescue tanker to the California Air National Guard on April 5 at the company’s site in Marietta, Georgia.
This HC-130J will be operated by the 129th Rescue Wing (RQW) at Moffett Air National Guard Base, California. The 129th RQW currently operates a fleet of MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, which will be replaced by four new HC-130Js, and a fleet of HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, which are built by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky business in Stratford, Connecticut.
Like others in the U.S. Air Force Rescue community, the 129th RQW lives by the motto, “These Things We Do, That Others May Live,” which reflects its mission of supporting combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. The 129th also performs a wide variety of civilian search and rescue missions, including distressed persons aboard ships, lost or injured hikers, and medical evacuations.
“The 129th Rescue Wing has long relied on its MC-130Ps to exemplify the National Guard’s commitment to being, ‘Always Ready, Always There,'” said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “The arrival of these new HC-130Js ensure these Airmen will have the increased power, enhanced capabilities and proven performance that will continue to help save lives — in California, throughout the Pacific region and around the world.”
The HC-130J Combat King II is the only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform in the Air Force and Air National Guard inventory. The HC-130J supports missions in all-weather and geographic environments, including reaching austere locations. The HC-130J is also tasked for airdrop, airland, and helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward-area ground refueling missions. It also supports humanitarian aid operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation and noncombatant evacuation operations.
The HC-130J is one of eight production variants of the C-130J Super Hercules, the current production model of the legendary C-130 Hercules aircraft. With more than 400 aircraft delivered, the C-130J is the airlifter of choice for 18 nations, with more than 1.7 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.