Saturday, April 23, 2011

MC-130J Combat Shadow enters flights tests

SOURCE FLIGHT GLOBAL Lockheed Martin will begin a five-month series of flight tests of the MC-130J Combat Shadow after completing first flight on 22 April.
The first MC-130J is scheduled for delivery in September to Cannon AFB, New Mexico, where it will start replacing Air Force Special Operations Command's (AFSOC's) MC-130Ps that entered service in 1986.

 ©Lockheed Martin
The USAF plans to buy as many as 37 MC-130Js under a $1.6 billion programme through 2016. The first 15 MC-130Js are already under contract, five more aircraft authorized to be on contract. Lockheed designed the MC-130J, which performs low-altitude aerial refuelings for helicopters and tiltrotors, using the KC-130J tanker as the baseline.

©Lockheed Martin
The first MC-130J rolled-out of Lockheed Martin's final assembly plant on 6 April.  
The production line at Marietta, Georgia, was modified to allow in-line modifications, such as the installation of a boom refueling receptacle. The MC-130J also adds more powerful electrical generators, electro-optical/infrared sensor and an enhanced service life wing. AFSOC is planning to deploy the first MC-130J operational unit in Fiscal 2012.

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