aviationzone

Lockheed JC-130

Primary Role: Mid-air retrieval The early-1960s era Corona reconnaissance satellite returned delicate film capsules to Earth that required mid-air retrieval by a JC-130 Hercules & HC-130 airlifter. These aircraft were manned by a crew of 10 personnel (two pilots, one flight engineer, two telemetry operators, one winch operator and four riggers). The telemetry operators would acquire the location …

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Lockheed HC-130

HC-130B/E/H Series Primary Role: Maritime patrol & search and rescue The United States Coast Guard was the first recipient of this C-130 variant. When first ordered in 1958, the Lockheed designation was SC-130B, which was later changed to HC-130B after entering service. These specially modified Hercules aircraft featured additional crew posts, two scanner stations offering an …

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Lockheed EC-130

Primary Role: Airborne battlefield command and control & electronic warfare “ABCCC” The EC-130E aircraft are used as an Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC). The aircraft has been modified with additional external antennae and designed to hold the “ABCCC” III capsule system. The system is a high-tech automated airborne command and control facility featuring computer generated …

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Boeing NC-135

Primary Role: NASA Testbed Under various designations, including NC-135A, NKC-135A and NKC-135E, NASA and the U.S. Air Force operate a fleet of heavily-modified C-135 airframes as aerial testbeds. The type of work performed by these aircraft is greatly varied, but includes refueling tests with new aircraft types, airborne laser trials, weightlessness training for astronauts, and numerous …

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Boeing EC-135

Primary Role: Airborne Command Post (ABCP) In the early days of KC-135A production, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) identified the requirement for an Airborne Command Post (ABCP). The idea was for specially-equipped aircraft to be airborne at all times, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in the event that SAC’s …

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Boeing C-135 Stratolifter

Primary Role: Strategic Airlift/Staff Transport Derived from Boeing’s prototype 707 jet airliner in the early 1950s, the versatile C-135 has been a visible fixture of the U.S. Air Force since the first one was acquired in August 1956. Although most of the 820 units were developed as KC-135A Stratotankers for the air refueling mission, they have …

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Boeing V-22 Osprey

Mission The V-22 Osprey is a medium lift, multi-mission, vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing to fill joint service combat operational requirements for the year 2001 and beyond. The V-22 operates as a helicopter when taking off and landing vertically. The nacelles rotate 90 degrees forward once …

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Fairchild AC-123

Overview In December of 1965, the USAF began Project Black Spot. This test program was designed to give the Air Force a self-contained night attack capability to seek out and destroy targets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In early-1966, the concept was approved by the Department of Defense and two Fairchild C-123K Providers (#54-691 and #54-698) were …

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Fairchild AC-119

Mission The Fairchild AC-119G/K is a fixed-wing, side-firing aerial gunship that provides close air support in defense of ground positions, armed reconnaissance and interdiction, and forward air controlling for fighter strikes. In Southeast Asia, AC-119Gs mainly flew fire support and air base defense missions, while the AC-119Ks were employed almost exclusively to destroy targets along …

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