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United States Air Force MC-130W COMBAT SPEAR special operations transport aircraft replace the aging MC-130E/H COMBAT TALON in the mission of infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces. They can locate, and either land or airdrop on small, unmarked zones with pinpoint accuracy day or night. They are assigned to as part of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the air component of United States Special Operations Command.

The aircraft is modified from C-130H in structure, refueling and cargo operations, and avionics. Structural improvements to the basic C-130H include the addition of the Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation or UARRSI, and a strengthened tail empennage. The UARRSI allows the aircraft to conduct in-flight refueling as a receiver, and strengthening of the tail will allow High Speed Low Level Aerial Delivery System airdrop operations. The MC-130W is equipped with Mk 32B-902E refueling pods. These pods are part of the most technologically advanced refueling system available, and provide the ability to refuel special operations helicopters and the CV-22 Osprey.


All systems are on the MIL-STD-1553 bus.

The navigation suite is a fully integrated Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System that interfaces with the AN/APN-241 Low Power Color Radar. Piloting is aided by a L-3 WESCAM MX-15 AN/AAQ-35 combined electro-optical and forward-looking infrared turret.

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.

General characteristics

  • Contractor: 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: 300 mph
  • Ceiling: 33,000 feet (10,000 meters)
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight:155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)
  • Range: Range: 1,208 miles (1,944 kilometers); Inflight refueling extends this to unlimited range
  • Weight: 75,745 pounds (34,430 kilograms)
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)
  • Fuel Capacity: 44,240 pounds (20,108 kilograms)
  • Payload: 33,000 pounds (maximum) (14,969 kilograms)
  • Crew: pilot, copilot, two navigators (officers), flight engineer and two loadmasters (enlisted)
  • Initial operating capability: 2007
  • Unit Cost: $60 million
  • Inventory: Active force, 12 (planned)