The KC-130 Hercules has been a valued work horse for the Marine Corps since the Corps accepted the first KC-130F in March 1960. The KC-130R is a US Marines probe-and-drogue refueling tanker similar to KC-130H. The 14 Marine Corps KC-130R tanker aircraft feature T56-A-16 engines, and the ability to transfer 8,000 gal (30,283 liters) of fuel at 1,000-nm (1,853-km) mission radius. In June 1993, the acquisition of 5 KC-130R model airframes provided VMGR-152 with a significant increase in aircraft range and added to its effectiveness in refueling and transport operations.
The active force KC-130 units are flying the oldest aircraft in the Marine Corps inventory. As of 1996 the average age of the 37 KC-130Fs was 34 years and 14 KC-130Rs averaged 19 years. The Marine Corps was closely monitoring the U.S. Air Force C-130J program and planned to will address the replacement of the KC-130F/Rs as an aviation priority during POM-98. Of the three services, the Marine Corps are an important operator of the Hercules, obtaining its first examples during the late 1950s. Three basic versions have been purchased, beginning with the GV-1 (later redesignated the KC-130F) in the late 1950s and progressing via the KC-130R to the contemporary KC-130T. The J versions of the aircraft will replace some of the Corps' KC-130Fs, and will augment the KC-130R and KC-130T versions in service with three active and two reserve Marine aerial refueler/transport squadrons. First deliveries of the KC-130J began in 2000.
A Marine Corps KC-130/R crashed into a mountain near Shamsi, Pakistan, at 6:45 p.m. Pakistan time on January 9, 2002. All members of the crew consisting of Seven Marines were killed. The Marines belonged to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron-352 (VMGR-352), "Raiders". Elements of VMGR-352 were attached to Combined Task Force 58, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The flight originated in Jacobabad, Pakistan, and was on a multistop mission. At the immediate time of the accident, DoD officials did not know whether the aircraft had gone into Afghanistan though CENTCOM officials did say it was "unlikely" the crash was the result of any enemy action, and that the cause of the crash is already under investigation. The destination of the flight was the Forward Operating Base at Shamsi in southwestern Pakistan.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|