C-130J Hercules

An Air Force C-130J Hercules transport aircraft conducts formation practice

The C-130J Hercules is a medium-sized tactical air-lifter which can deliver cargo to airfields with short unsurfaced runways, and airdrop cargo and paratroops by parachute.

A fleet of 12 are operated from RAAF Base Richmond by No. 37 Squadron. They were delivered to the base between 1999 and 2001.

The C-130J is an important air link for Australian Defence Force personnel overseas, with two aircraft deployed in the Middle East to provide assistance to medical treatment locations.

The Australian Defence Force relies extensively on the C-130J when deploying personnel and aid. 

Recent operations include:

  • Op Queensland Flood Assist (2011);
  • Op Philippines Assist (2013);  and
  • Op OKRA (2014), where C-130Js were used to airdrop humanitarian supplies to Iraqi civilian.

About the Aircraft

The C-130J Hercules can carry up to 128 passengers, or eight pallets of cargo. It can work alongside other airlifters, including the C-27J Spartan and C-17A Globemaster III.

Upgrades to the C-130J have enhanced communications and information-sharing, and improved the aircraft's endurance during battle.

The C-130J Hercules can also be used in other roles, such as Search and Survivor Assistance and medical evacuation of wounded or sick patients.


Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Role Tactical and medium transport
Crew Pilot, co-pilot, loadmaster
Engine Four Allison AE2100D3 turboprops (4,590 shaft horsepower each) driving 6-blade variable-pitch propellers
Airframe Length: 34.4 m  Height: 10.1m
Wingspan 40.4m
Weight 79,378kg maximum (19,500kg payload)
Cruise Speed 643 km/h
Range 6,852 km (no payload)
Ceiling 40,000 feet

Depending on configuration:

  • Up to 128 passengers
  • 74 paratroops
  • 97 stretcher patients and two medical attendants; or
  • 19,598kg of cargo
  • self-protection measures