First HC-130J Rescue Bird

Lockheed Martin turned over the first HC-130J Combat King II personnel recovery aircraft to Air Combat Command. Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff, ferried the new aircraft from Lockheed’s production facility in Marietta, Ga., to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., where it will join the 79th Rescue Squadron. “This is such a significant milestone for the personnel recovery community. The capabilities of the new HC-130J are a magnitude greater than any of its predecessors,” said Schwartz after touching down on Sept. 24 with the airplane. The J model is capable of being refueled in flight and boasts feature like new electro-optical sensors, improved navigation, and enhanced-life wing structures. ACC’s 1965-vintage HC-130P/N fleet will gradually retire as J models enter the inventory. Air Force officials expect HC-130Js to begin regular duty at Davis-Monthan in early 2013. The Air Force has 11 HC-130Js on order, but plans to procure 37 in total. (Davis-Monthan report by A1C Nicholas Benroth) (Lockheed release)