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Special Forces C-130K - Hercules

RAF 47 Squadron Special Forces flight operated C-130K Hercules C.1 and C.3A transport aircraft in support of UKSF operations. The C.3A was a 'stretched' version of the C.1, with a longer fuselage. 47 Squadron operated the last few K models in RAF service until they were eventually retired in 2013. The squardon now uses a number of C-130J aircraft in the special operations role.

Up to 4 heavily armed SAS Land Rover 110s could be carried in the cargo hold of a C-130K. SAS/SBS troops could also be parachuted from Hercules flying at high altitude (HALO & HAHO), whilst SBS teams could be dropped out to sea, along with their rigid inflatable boats (RIBs).

RAF SF Hercules were equipped with a defensive aids sub-system (DASS), designed to detect and protect against SAMs (Surface-to-air missiles). The DASS consists of:

  • AN/AAQ-24(V) Nemesis directed IR countermeasures (DIRCM)
  • AN/AAR-47 electro-optical missile warning system
  • AN/APR-39A Radar Warning Receivers
  • 3x AN/ALE-40 chaff/flare dispensors on either side of the lower nose

In addition to the defensive avionics, SF Hercules were also fitted with a suite of sensor systems as part of a Enhanced Vision System upgrade:

  • SIGMA Thermal Imaging system
    (in a Titan 385 turret under the aircraft's nose)
  • Low Light Level Television (LLLTV) camera
    (in a fixed array above the nose)

These sensor packages allowed the SF Hercules to better operate at night and in poor weather conditions.

RAF SF Hercules can also accommodate an array of classified listening gear which allows 47 Sqn to fly SIGINT (SIGnals INTelligence) missions.

Other advanced avionics found in SF flight Hercules included:

  • Honeywell 764G GPS/INS navigations system
  • QinetiW advanced mission computer
  • Flat Panel avionics displays
  • Goodrich Sensor Systems digital air data computer

Additional flight deck armour was later added to protect the crew from ground fire.

photos of 47 Squadron Special Forces C-130 C.1s :
(courtesy of - used with thanks)

Related video:

Video of a 47 Squadron C-130K (C.1)

C.1 Hercules Specifications

Crew Five (pilot, co-pilot, 1 navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster)
Cargo capacity 64 fully-equipped parachutists
Maximum speed 602 kph
Range 2,047 nm (3,791km) fully payload; 4,522 nm (8,375km) empty
Max takeoff weight 70,307 kg
Defences DASS defensive aids sub-system
Armament none

c-130 nemesis system
SF Hercules feature AN/AAQ-24(V) Nemesis directed IR countermeasures (DIRCM) in housings on the rear fuselage. (photo shows same system on a USAF MC-130)

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