There is no aircraft in aviation history — either developed or under development — that can match the flexibility, versatility and relevance of the C-130J Super Hercules. In continuous production longer than any other military aircraft, the C-130 has earned a reputation as a workhorse ready for any mission, anywhere, anytime.
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more than 60 years of service, the family has participated in military, civilian, and humanitarian aid operations. The Hercules has outlived several planned successor designs, most notably the Advanced Medium STOL Transport contestants. Fifteen nations have placed orders for a total of 300 C-130Js, of which 250 aircraft have been delivered as of February 2012.
The Super Hercules has been used extensively by the USAF and USMC in Iraq and Afghanistan. Canada has also deployed its CC-130J aircraft to Afghanistan.
C-130Js from several countries have been deployed in support of the US Operation Odyssey Dawn and NATO’s Operation Unified Protector during the 2011 Libyan civil war.
From the first flight on 5 April 1996 to 30 April 2013, 290 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft operated by 13 nations surpassed 1 million flight hours.
In January 2013, it was reported that some of Canada’s C-130J transports had counterfeit Chinese microchips in their cockpit displays. These parts are more likely to fail and result in failures such as blank instrument screens during flight. A 14-month investigation by the U.S Senate armed services committee concluded that counterfeit parts in the Hercules and other American-made military equipment are prone to failure with potentially “catastrophic consequences.” The U.S. congressional investigation reported the fake Hercules microchips were originally made by the Korean electronics giant Samsung in the 1990s, and more than a decade later, had been recycled, refurbished and remarked to appear genuine by a company in China. Samsung later stated that “it is not possible to project the reliability” of the altered parts. The U.S. investigation reported that the problems on the Hercules first came to light in 2010 when the instrument panel failed on a USAF aircraft during active duty.
On 20 August 2013, the Indian Air Force performed the highest landing of a C-130J at the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip in Ladakh at the height of 16,614 ft (5,064 m).