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MC-130J Commando II

The MC-130J Commando II is the latest C-130 variant in the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) fleet. Based on the KC-130J tanker design, the MC-130J is a state-of-the-art, multi-role tactical airlifter and refueler, designed to replace AFSOC's ageing fleet of MC-130E and MC-130P aircraft. The first MC-130J was delivered to the 522nd Special Operations Squadron, 27th Special Operations Wing, in late September 2011. The MC-130J was initially known as the Combat Shadow II but was eventually officially redesignated as the Commando II

MC-130J Video

MC-130J Commando II - Roles

The MC-130J is a versatile aircraft, configured to fulfull a number of roles:

  • low-level, multi-ship air-to-air refueling of special ops helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft such as the CV-22 Osprey
  • insertion, extraction and resupply via airdrop / airland of personnel and equipment in support of Special Operations Forces
  • operations in politically sensitive or hostile airspace
MC-130J Commando II

MC-130J Commando II Features

The MC-130J is the first AFSOC bird that has been built specifically by Lockheed Martin for special operations rather than being a modification of existing C-130 airframes. Features of the MC-130J include:

  • 2-pilot flight station
  • 1 Combat Systems Operator (CSO) station
  • 1 auxiliary flight deck station
  • new turboprop engines with 6-bladed composite propellors
  • Universal Air Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI)
  • Enhanced Cargo Handling System (ECHS)
  • Enhanced Service Life Wing
  • 60/90 KVA generators
  • increased DC electrical output


The MC-130J is packed with sophisiticated avionics:

  • AN/AAS-52(V) Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) System
  • multi-mode radar
  • dual SATCOM (voice / data)
  • integrated dual inertial and GPS navigation
  • advanced digital cockpit featuring multifunction liquid crystal displays
  • dual special mission processors

Defensive Systems

A Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system protects the MC-130J against incoming missiles. The LAIRCM features sensors to detect missiles and a laser to spoof incoming missiles off course. The MC-130J also features flare and chaff launchers.

MC-130J cockpit
The MC-130J features a 2-pilot flight station with digitial avionics, color multifunctional liquid crystal displays and head-up displays.
photo by : US Air Force
MC-130J nose
An electro optical / infrared sensor turret is housed under the MC-130J's nose. The nose itself houses a multi-mode radar.
photo : US Air Force

MC-130J Specifications

Crew 2 pilots
1 one combat systems officer
2 loadmasters
Engines 4 x Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 Turboprops
Dimensions Length : 29.3
Height : 11.9 meters
Wingspan : 39.7 meters
Max Takeoff Weight 164,000 pounds
Range 3000 nm (without in-flight refueling)
Ceiling 28,000 feet (42,000 pound payload)
Speed 362 KTAS at 22,000 feet
Countermeasures Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM)
Sensors multi-mode radar
AN/AAS-52(V)  electro optical / IR pod

A USAF MC-130J pictured on the flighline at Cannon AFB
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman James Bell

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