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United States Air Force MC-130E COMBAT TALON I and MC-130H COMBAT TALON II aircraft have a primary 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.

Both the MC-130E and MC-130H are equipped with aerial refueling pods to provide in-flight refueling of special operations forces and combat search and rescue helicopters. They can also accept fuel from another tanker, extending their operational range.

The primary difference between the MC-130E and MC-130H involves omputers and avionics suite: the E-model started as a 1960s vintage analog design, wile the H-model, designed in the 1980s, has a full Tintegrated glass flight deck which improves crew coordination and reduces the crew complement by two. The H models will be upgraded into the MC-130W COMBAT SPEAR, with even more advanced avionics.


Piloting aids include AN/APQ-170 terrain following/terrain avoidance radar and forward-looking infrared.

For communications, it has AN/ARC-187 tactical and satellite transceivers.

Threat detection comes from the AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning system and an AN/ALR-69A(V) direction-finding radar warning receiver.

The infrared countermeasures are 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:
MC-130E: 100 feet, 10 inches (30.7 meters)
MC-130H: 99 feet, 9 inches (30.4 meters)
  • Height: 38 feet, 6 inches (11.7 meters)
  • Speed: 300 mph
  • Load:
MC-130E: 53 troops, 26 paratroopers
MC-130H: 77 troops, 52 paratroopers or 57 litter patients
  • Ceiling: 33,000 feet (10,000 meters)
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight:155,000 pounds (69,750 kilograms)
  • Range: 2,700 nautical miles (4,344 kilometers); Inflight refueling extends this to unlimited range
  • Crew:
MC-130E: Two pilots, two navigators and an electronic warfare officer (officers); flight engineer, radio operator and two loadmasters (enlisted)
MC-130H: Two pilots, a navigator and electronic warfare officer (officers); flight engineer and two loadmasters (enlisted)
  • Date Deployed: MC-130E, 1966; MC-130H, June 1991
  • Unit Cost: MC-130E, $75 million; MC-130H, $155 million (fiscal 2001 constant dollars)
  • Inventory: Active force, MC-130H, 20; Reserve, MC-130E, 10; ANG, 0