Lockheed Martin delivered the first of eight C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical airlifters to the Georgia Air National Guard during a ceremony, commemorating a new era in Hercules operations for this long-time C-130 Hercules operator.
The 165th Airlift Wing received its initial Hercules in 1975 and has operated several variants over the years. The Savannah-based unit will now operate the C-130J-30 Super Hercules, which offers unprecedented power, space, integration and versatility.
"Today's delivery of this C-130J-30 Super Hercules is another symbol of Lockheed Martin's long-term commitment to the Hercules' home state. On behalf of our 6,000+ Georgia employees, it is an honour to deliver this Georgia-built, Georgia-flown aircraft to Savannah's 165th Airlift Wing," said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin's Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business and its Marietta production site. "The addition of the C-130J Super Hercules, the most advanced Hercules ever produced, to the Georgia Air National Guard's fleet enables its crews to deliver hope and help ― all over the world for many years to come."
The 165th Airlift Wing has the distinction of operating the first all-C-130J-30 Super Hercules fleet in Georgia. Its crews will rely on the C-130J-30 — the stretch version of the C-130J that adds 15 feet of cargo space ― to support strategic and tactical airlift mission requirements.
"Marty, the girls and I are grateful for the service and dedication of the men and women of the Georgia Air National Guard every day," Gov. Brian Kemp said. "Today's delivery of a C-130J-30 Super Hercules means our brave servicemembers will now fly the most advanced Hercules aircraft in history, proudly built right here in the State of Georgia at Lockheed Martin's historic Marietta manufacturing facility. I'm proud the longest continuously produced military aircraft in American history is now both Georgia-built and Georgia-flown, supporting our state's continued growth as a national leader in military, defence and aerospace."
The C-130J Super Hercules is Georgia's aerospace ambassador to the world, with almost 2.7 million flight hours and a $2 billion annual investment into the Georgia economy, which includes 18 Georgia-based suppliers.
"I join with Maj. Gen. Carden, Maj. Gen. Crumbly, the Lockheed Martin team, IAM Local 709 and the entire community in celebrating the delivery of this new C-130J for our Georgia Air National Guard. In 2022, Sen. Warnock and I added funding for 16 new C-130J aircraft and an additional 16 in 2023. I will continue to champion the C-130J program in Congress, and this new aircraft will help our National Guard defend the United States," U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff said.
This delivery marks the first U.S. Air Force C-130J-30 aircraft to receive the Block 8.1 configuration during its initial production. The Block 8.1 configuration improves interoperability across the fleet with features such as a new flight management system, enhanced navigation and inter-communication systems and updated friend-or-foe identification.
"Since I came to Congress, I have fiercely advocated for increased C-130 procurement, due to its importance in strengthening our national security. The C-130J Super Hercules is the most capable airlifter in the world. Every aircraft made represents the hard work of 5,500 Georgians at Lockheed Martin's Marietta facility located right here in the 11th Congressional District," U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11) said. "This new aircraft also represents a major increase in capability for the men and women of Georgia's Air National Guard, who will now count the most advanced C-130 ever built as part of its newest fleet. I want to thank Georgia Adjutant General Thomas Carden for his partnership in securing this major victory for Georgia and our nation."
The U.S. Air National Guard, which has one of the most visible and active C-130 fleets in the world, continues to operate a mixed C-130J and C-130H fleet. The addition of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules to the Air National Guard fleet ensures these crews will continue to support the Guard's motto of "Always Ready, Always There" for decades to come.
"The future is now, and the Georgia National Guard is more prepared than ever to answer the call with the cutting-edge, C-130J Super Hercules-enabled airlift. I'm so proud of the Airmen at 165th Airlift Wing and thankful to all those who have worked tirelessly to make this happen," said Maj. Gen. Tom Carden, adjutant general of the Georgia Department of Defense.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the proven standard in tactical airlift, providing a unique mix of versatility and performance to complete any mission, anytime, anywhere. To date, 26 operators in 22 nations are part of the C-130J global fleet. Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 530 C-130J Super Hercules in 18 mission variants.