Our Special Use Lockheed C-130 Photo Scrapbook


The original YC-130 prototype first flew on August 23, 1954… that means we’re coming up on the 67th anniversary of the event. Originally designed as a cargo and troop transport with medivac mission capabilities, the basic C-130 airframe has been modified for many more missions than could have been dreamed about during its design. From the original C-130A through the currently built C-130J basic variants, specially modified and equipped versions have hatched. 

From our Photorecon.net photographer team, we’ve assembled this album, full of various C-130 sub-variants, to salute this workhorse of world-wide military air arms. Here’s how the “Herc” has been transformed from a basic transport to the Swiss Army Knife it has become. Enjoy!

The AC-130 Gunship has been modified into six different versions from C-130 -A, -E, -H and -J basic models, plus a pair more from already-modified airframes. This is an early version, an AC-130A in the National Museum of the USAF.

The EC-130 versions encompass multiple missions, including ELINT, jamming, command post and even an AWACS version.

The HC-130 and MC-130 families comprise of search and rescue, special operations transport, air refueling and surveillance versions. This MC-130E was one which could drop the BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter” bomb, displayed in the foreground.  The U. S. Coast Guard operates HC-130J and a few HC-130Hs too. 

The KC-130 is operated by the U.S. Marine Corps as a transport, aerial tanker and now, a gunship with added rockets. 

The LC-130 family are used in Antarctic and Artic missions, using large skis to assist with snow and ice landings. Both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air National Guard have operated LC-130s, assisting the National Science Foundation with transport and resupply missions to outposts near the earth’s poles.

The WC-130 versions are known as Hurricane Hunters; flown into both tropical Hurricanes/Typhoons and winter Nor’easters/blizzards to measure atmospheric conditions to aid forecasts. The RAF has retired their Hercules W.2 Pinocchio nose research aircraft. 


Non-U.S. operators include the U.K.’s Royal Air Force’s C-130K special operations version, and Japan’s C-130Hs… both finished in a unique blue color scheme.

There are a few more duties that the C-130 has been assigned, like using the MAFFS system to help fight forest fires.  A spray bar system on others assist with insect control and anti-oil dispersion chemicals for spill response.

The C-130 still has it’s original assigned duties of troop and cargo transport, parachute drop and medivac flights. Air Mobility Rodeo is a competition  between U.S. and other worldwide operators. Crews train in small and large-scale operations, here are a few special tail markings with hidden or bold messages:



Joe Kates

Joe Kates is the founder of Photorecon. Joe has been into aviation since he was a child and has a incredible amount of knowledge to do with planes or aviation in general. Today Joe is the owner and Managing Editor of Photorecon.

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