The MC-130 Talon is a series of aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force for multiple missions that range from enemy infiltration to air refuelling.
Members of the Family
The MC-130 aircrafts are developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. and based on the C-130 Hercules transport plane. There are a number of different aircraft in the MC-130 series, which are often referred to as "members of the family" by military personnel. These include the MC-130E Combat Talon, MC-130W Combat Spear, and the MC-130P Combat Shadow. The aircraft share similar features and are considered to be multi-mission planes. They are used for infiltration, exfiltration, to resupply troops in the field, and for air refuelling of helicopters and other tilt-rotor aircraft.
The MC-130 aircraft are operated by the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. The MC-130 plane was first used during the Vietnam Conflict to carry U.S. soldiers on secret missions behind enemy lines. Since then the aircraft have flown missions and conducted operations around the world, notably in the 1991 Gulf War and during a civil war in Sierra Leon.
The MC-130 series of aircraft are one of the most expensive operated by the U.S. military. Depending on the avionics and weapons employed, the price of each aircraft can range from $50 million to as much as $155 million. The MC-130 aircraft contain large cargo areas and can hold nearly 80 fully equipped infantry soldiers and about 50 paratroopers. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 155,000 pounds and can fly at a cruising speed of 300 miles per hour.