The C-130 Hercules turboprop, introduced in December of 1957, is used in all the military branches for military transport.  The US Coast Guard (USCG) flies this aircraft on their search and rescue and other patrol missions.  First introduced in 1957, variations of this aircraft are being used worldwide.  The Hercules is only one of a small handful of aircraft that has been in use for 50 consecutive years with its main customer, the United States Air Force.  (Article continued below.)

History of the C-130 Hercules

The history of the Hercules series began during the Korean War when transports of that era (previously used in World War II) were unable to fully meet the warfare demands of the 1950’s.  As a result, in February of 1951, the USAF released a General Operating Requirement – GOR – to several competitors which set forth design guidelines for a new transport.


Eventually designed and produced by Lockheed, the C-130 would be capable of carrying either 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or a total of 64 paratroopers.  The cargo compartment on this aircraft would vary from previous transports that originated from passenger airlines.  The main difference was the ramp – used for loading and unloading – which would now be located at the rear of the aircraft.  This particular feature allowed the C-130 to accommodate unusually large cargo which included service helicopters and even six-wheeled armored vehicles.  Another benefit of the Hercules series was its capability of using airstrips that were short and/or unprepared.


As this series developed over the years, subsequent aircraft were produced incorporating modern technology which contributed to the overall capability of this aircraft, allowing it to climb faster and even higher than previous models.   The newer models were also designed to be more fuel efficient, allowing them to fly further at an even higher cruising speed.   The Hercules C-130 series has come a long way since its initial flight in December of 1957.