Testers Give Thumbs Up to New Rescue and Commando Airplanes

Air Force operational testers have certified that the service’s new HC-130J Combat King II rescue aircraft and MC-130J Commando II special-mission tanker are “effective, suitable, and mission capable,” announced Lockheed Martin, the airplanes’ manufacturer, on Nov. 1. The certification came in October, according to the company. The Air Force is currently recapitalizing its legacy HC-130s and MC-130s with the new-build Combat King IIs and Commando IIs. These platforms are modified variants of the basic C-130J airframe. Lockheed Martin is currently on contract for 15 HC-130Js and 27 MC 130Js. Overall, the Air Force has plans to procure 37 HC-130Js and 85 MC-130Js. Sixteen of the MC-130Js are slated to undergo post-production conversion to AC-130J gunships. (See also More Special Mission C-130Js Ordered.)