MARIETTA, Ga., 2 March 2006. Lockheed Martin has delivered the first C-130J airlifter of 2006. The aircraft was flown to Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and assigned to the 403rd Wing's 815th Airlift Squadron, Air Force Reserve Command's only C-130J combat delivery squadron.
Flying the aircraft to Keesler was Maj. Gen. Michael Gould, commander of the 2nd Air Force. Gould is responsible for all operational aspects of basic military training, initial skills training, and advanced technical training for Air Force enlisted and support officers.
The aircraft, said to have flown extremely well, is considered by some the finest tactical airlifter the Air Force has ever built or fielded. It is designed to fly further, faster, and higher while carrying more payload than the older models.
The 815th Airlift Squadron, known as the Flying Jennies, received its first C-130J, a short-fuselage aircraft, in 1999 but is now being equipped with the longer-fuselage aircraft. Today's delivery is the fifth of eight aircraft that will eventually be assigned to the squadron.
2005 marked the combat debut for the U.S. C-130J fleet, when both the Air National Guard and Marine Corps operated the aircraft in Iraq and Afghanistan. The EC 130J psychological warfare aircraft were also flown on operational missions for the first time.
The new aircraft is the longer fuselage C-130J which features a strengthened cargo ramp and improved airdrop system, allowing crews to make airdrops at 250 knots and minimizing exposure to anti-aircraft fire in hostile areas. These aircraft are 112 feet long, 15 feet longer than the short-length C-130J aircraft.
A total of 182 C-130Js are on order, and 136 have been delivered to date.