RAF Special Forces C4 / C5 Hercules
47 Squadron Royal Air Force (47 Sqn RAF) fly various models of Hercules transport planes on special operations.
The squadron flies the baseline C-130J - designated in RAF service as the C5 -and the C-30J-30, a version with a longer fuselage, - designated as the C4.
47 Sqn previously flew C1, C3 and C3a Hercules in the special operations role.
The C4 / C5 Hercules design has the following improvements over the aircraft previously flown by 47 Sqn:
- Allison AE turboprops + Dowty Aerospace six-bladed composite propellers
- more powerful engines and more efficient props create an improved performance when taking off and a better fuel efficiency, negating the need for external fuel tanks
- Digital Glass Cockpit
- 4x multifunction LCD displays units
- 2x holographic Head Up Displays (HUD)
- automatic flight control system
- head down display
- traffic collision avoidance system
- ground collision avoidance system
- compatible with night visions goggles (NVGs)
- Lower operating costs
- lower maintenance costs
- less manpower costs (2-less crew needed)
- Improved overall performance
- 35% greater range
- 42% higher cruising ceiling
- 59% decrease in time-to-climb
- 21% increase in maximum speed
- 41% decrease in take-off run
The C4 model is a 'stretched' version, with a 15ft longer fuselage,. Due to their increased cargo-carrying capacity, the C4s are said to be the preferred variant for special operations.
RAF C4 / C5 Hercules are fitted with a defensive aids sub-system (DASS) as standard, although it is not as effective as the special kit previously carried by SF-equipped C1, C3 and C3a aircraft. Specifics of the DASS fitted to any Special Forces-equipped C5 / C4 aircraft are hard to come by but some have speculated they would be similar to Special Forces C-130K fitments:
- 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 dispensers on either side of the lower nose
note: when 47 Squadron were tasked with evacuating British nationals from Libya in 2011, at least one of the aircraft used was a Hercules C4. Photographs of the aircraft showed the tell-tale exterior components of the AN/AAQ-24(V) Nemesis DIRCM system.
C-130J Hercules Specifications
|Crew||3 - 2 pilots and a loadmaster|
|Cargo capacity||62 parachutists (C5)
92 parachutists (C4)
5 freight pallets (C5)
7 freight pallets (C4)
|Maximum speed||645 kph|
|Max takeoff weight||79,545 kg|
|Defences||DASS defensive aids sub-system|