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MC-130W Combat Spear

The MC-130W Combat Spear is based around the C-130H Hercules airframe. Combat Spears are Operated by USAF Special Operations Squadrons, specifically, the 73rd Special Operations Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The MC-130W program was initiated in order to replace MC-130E/H/P losses in the Global War On Terror.

MC-130W Combat Spear - Roles

USAF Special Ops use the MC-130W aircraft for the following roles:

  • insertion, extraction and re supply of special operations forces by airdrop and by landing/takeoff
  • air-to-air refueling of helicopters and CV-22 Osprey aircraft
  • specialized ordnance delivery
  • psychological operations (leaflet drops)
mc-130w combat spear

MC-130W Combat Spear - Features


Combat Spears frequently fly at night, cloaked in darkness and so features night-vision-goggles-compatible interior and exterior lighting.

Combat Spears feature a fully integrated Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System, a AN/APN-241 Low Power Color weather/navigation Radar and a AN/AAQ-17infrared sensor.

The communications package on the MC-130W includes satellite and data burst capabilities.

Defensive Systems

A suite of radar and missile warning sensors, in addition to flare and chaff launchers provide defense against hostile weapons systems.

Refueling Systems

Combat Spears can receive fuel from other airborne tankers via its Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation. Mk 32B-902E refueling pods and their attached drogues allow the MC-130W to refuel special ops helicopters and CV-22 Ospreys.

All of the above features makes the MC-130w a far more capable aircraft than the C-130H it is based around. It is, however, less capable than its MC-130E / MC-130H cousins, due to a lack of terrain following radar. It has, however, had its tail section strengthened to permit fast low-level air drops. In terms of capability, the MC-130w fits somewhere between the MC-130E/H Combat Talon I/II and the MC-130P Combat Spear.

An armed variant of the Combat Spear, given the moniker, 'Dragon Spear' has recently been introduced to augment the ageing AC-130 Gunship fleet.

more info : MC-130W Dragon Spear

mc-130w - interior
The often-blacked-out interior of the MC-130W features NVG-compatible lighting
U.S.A.F. photo : Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez
mc-130w - refueling drogues
A MC-130W trails drogues from its Mk 32B-902E refuling pods
USAf photo : Airman 1st Class Stephanie Sinclair

MC-130W Operational History

The MC-130W Combat Spear entered service with USAF Special Operations in June 2006

MC-130W Specifications

Crew 7:-
4 officers (pilot, copilot, two navigators)
3 enlisted (flight engineer, 2 loadmasters)
Engines 4 Allison turboprop engines T56-A-15
Dimensions Length : 29.8 meters (E) / 30.4 meters (H)
Height : 11.7 meters
Wingspan : 40.4 meters
Max Takeoff Weight 69,750 kilograms
Range 1,944 nm (without in-flight refueling)
Ceiling 33,000 feet
Speed 300 mph (sea level)
Defensive systems AN/ALE-27 chaff/flare dispensers
Avionics AN/APN-241 Low Power Color weather/navigation Radar
GPS Navigation
Inertial navigation
AN/AAQ-17infrared detection set

MC-130W Combat Spear
THe first USAF MC-130W Combat Spear entered service in June 2006.
Photo : US Air Force

MC-130W Combat Spear Resources

« Special Ops Aircraft

Featured MC-130W Photo
MC-130W Combat Spear
A MC-130W Combat Spear pictured on the runway
(click photo for fullsize image)
more USAF Special Operations Aircraft photos

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