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MC-130J Refueling Tankers Due at Cannon AFB in 2012

Lockheed Martin will begin a five-month series of flight tests of the MC-130J Combat Shadow after completing first flight on 22 April.VCP-550

The first MC-130J is scheduled for delivery in September to Cannon AFB, New Mexico, where it will start replacing the Air Force Special Operations Command’s MC-130Ps that entered service in 1986.

The USAF plans to buy as many as 37 MC-130Js under a $1.6 billion programme through 2016. The first 15 MC-130Js are already under contract, with five more aircraft authorised to be on contract.

Lockheed designed the MC-130J, which performs low-altitude aerial refuelings for helicopters and tiltrotors, using the KC-130J tanker as the baseline.

The first MC-130J rolled-out of Lockheed Martin’s final assembly plant on 6 April
The production line at Marietta, Georgia, was modified to allow in-line modifications, such as the installation of a boom refuelling receptacle. The MC-130J also adds more powerful electrical generators, an electro-optical/infrared sensor and an enhanced service life wing.

AFSOC is planning to deploy the first MC-130J operational unit in fiscal year 2012.
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