It is one of the toughest, most adaptable and significant combat aircraft in the world—the venerable C-130 Hercules. The type has been in production for a whopping 61 years, and yesterday Lockheed announced that it just delivered its 2,500th C-130, a HC-130J Combat King II destined to the 71st Rescue Squadron at Moody AFB in Georgia.

C-130s have been operated by 68 individual countries, and Lockheed reports that it has wracked up an amazing 22 million flight hours. These aircraft have served as everything from civilian cargo transports operating from rough fields around the globe, to airborne command centers, to deep penetrating special forces insertion platforms, to one of the most feared weapons ever fielded, the AC-130 gunship.

So, here’s a huge congrats to Lockheed Martin and the Marietta plant team for reaching an amazing milestone with an amazing aircraft. The C-130 has changed the course of history, and remains an American icon that does some of the toughest aerial jobs around the globe on a daily basis.


Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.

Lockheed Martin photo by Damien Guarnieri