MC-130J Commando II

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Product Type:

Special Operations Aerial Refueling Tanker

Using Service (US):

USSOCOM: Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractors:

Lockheed Martin Corp.

The MC-130J Commando II

About the MC-130J:

The Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II is a military special mission and transport/aerial refueling aircraft. The MC-130J flies clandestine or low visibility, low-level aerial refueling missions to support special operations helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft, and infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces (SOF) by airdrop or airland intruding politically sensitive or hostile territories. The MC-130J primarily flies missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by enemy aircraft.

Helicopter aerial refueling can be conducted at night with blacked out communication with up to two helicopters simultaneously. Additionally, forward area refueling point operations can be executed to support forces on the ground.

The MC-130J is powered by four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines with 4,591 shp each.

The aircraft is operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). As of September 30, 2016, there are 35 MC-130Js in the SOCOM aircraft inventory - The MC-130J achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in December 2012. The MC-130J is a result of the HC/MC-130 recapitalization program and replaces Air Combat Command's aging fleet of MC-130E/P Combat Talon I/Combat Shadow aircraft.

The MC-130J is equipped with an advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics; fully populated Combat Systems Operator (CSO) and auxiliary flight deck stations; 13-color multifunctional liquid crystal displays; head-up displays; fully integrated navigation systems with dual inertial navigation system and global positioning system; integrated defensive systems; low-power color radar; digital moving map display; Dowty R391 six-bladed all-composite propellers; digital auto pilot; improved fuel, environmental and ice-protection systems; enhanced cargo-handling system; Universal Air Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI), two air refueling pods, Electro Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) system; dual SATCOM for voice/data; 60/90 KVA generators; loadmaster/scanner restraint system; BAE Systems AN/ALR-56M radar warning receiver (RWR), AN/AAR-47(V) missile warning system (MWS), and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system; and Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) provisions.

The MC-130J is operated by a crew of five, including three officers (pilot, co-pilot and combat system officer) and two loadmasters. Improvements over the older MC-130E/P reduces crew size by leaving the CSO to handle the helicopter refueling process normally run by a flight engineer. Also, loadmasters now handle other flight engineer and communications operator functions.

The MC-130J is replacing the aging AFSOC fleet of MC-130E/P tankers. The first aircraft was delivered in September 2011 to Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico. The aircraft was officially renamed Commando II from Combat Shadow II in March 2012.



MC-130J Production Forecast:

A 15-year MC-130J production forecast is available through Forecast International's Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year MC-130J production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International's Military Aircraft Forecast service.


The MC-130J flies clandestine or low-visibility, low-level air refueling missions for special operations helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft, and infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces by airdrop or airland, including politically sensitive or hostile territories.

FY 2020 & FY 2021 - MC-130J DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Northrop Grumman, and Rolls-Royce plc.

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Military Aircraft Forecast:

Complete and detailed information, including production forecast data, is provided in our Market Intelligence Service: Military Aircraft Forecast.

Forecast International Budget Data:

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DoD Spending in FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016, FY 2017 and FY 2018 + 5-year forecast

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Military Aircraft Forecast
Military Aircraft Forecast
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