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United States Air Force MC-130P COMBAT SHADOW aircraft, as part of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) have a primary mission of air refueling for special operation forces helicopters. Its secondary mission includes the airdrop of leaflets. AFSOC is the air component of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

14 of the 23 Combat Shadows can receive air refueling as well as provide it to helicopters; the ability of a tanker to itself be refueled allows extremely long range missions to be conducted.

As does are MC-130 COMBAT TALON and MC-130 COMBAT SPEAR, it is a modified transport aircraft that can, by airdrop or landing, support special operations personnel on the ground, usually at night. Its missions are intended to be clandestine, and can be conducted by one aircraft or groups of aircraft.


Piloting aids include AN/APQ-170 multi-mode radar, forward-looking infrared and night vision goggle-compatible heads-up displays. It has intertial and GPS navigation,

Threat detection comes from the AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning system. The infrared countermeasures was not limited to flares, but directed energy from the AN/ALQ-157 system.[1] The aircraft has an AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System [CMDS], is a "smart" dispenser that connects directly to infrared and radar warning receivers, release expendable and towed/retrivable decoys, as well as helping the pilot with situational awareness of the threat.

The aircraft have low-probability-of-interceptsatellite and data-burst communications

General characteristics

  • Builder: Lockheed
  • Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines
  • Thrust: 4,910 shaft horsepower each engine
  • Wingspan: 132 feet, 7 inches (40.4 meters)
  • Length: 98 feet, 9 inches (30.09 meters)
  • Height: 38 feet, 6 inches (11.7 meters)
  • Speed: 289 mph (at sea level)
  • Ceiling: 33,000 feet (10,000 meters)
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)
  • Range: Beyond 4,000 miles
  • Crew: Two pilots and two navigators (officers); flight engineer, communications systems operator and two loadmasters (enlisted)
  • Date Deployed: 1986
  • Unit Cost: $75 million (fiscal 2001 dollars)
  • Inventory: Active force, 23; Reserve, 0; ANG, 4