The C-130 Hercules was born from a request by the United States Air Force for a replacement transport aircraft for the C-119 Flying Boxcar, C-47 Skytrain, and C-46 Commando, which were inadequate for modern warfare after the Korean War. The USAF wanted a plane that could have a capacity of 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or 64 paratroopers fly a range of around 1,100 nautical miles, have the ability to fly with one engine shut down, and be able to take-off from unprepared runways (MotoArt, 2009). Lockheed fired up the engines and eventually won the contract with the USAF with their YC-130 prototype. The C-130 first took to the skies on August 23, 1954 and flew from Burbank, California to Edwards Air Force Base. Soon after that flight 2,000 C-130 Hercules’ were put into production. When engineers are designing an airplane, most often they have a single purpose in mind for it. This was not the case for the C-130 Hercules. Ranging from cargo transport to scientific research, the C-130 can get the job done easily (MotoArt, 2009). Over 40 different variants of the C-130 were made, making it one of the most versatile transport planes in history (MotoArt, 2009). The system was built with speedy loading and unloading in mind. It also was designed with low ramp access in mind with the ramp at rear being about level to a typical truck bed. The system maintains STOL capabilities which make it ideal in the forward operating environment where transportation of supplies, personnel and vehicles is essential (Writer, 2010). The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for air dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. It operates throughout the U.S. Air Force, serving with Air Mobility Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, theater commands, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command, fulfilling a wide range of...
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