All you want to know about Lockheed C-130 J Super Hercules & Embraer C-390 Millennium

An updated version of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft with new engines, flight deck and other systems.

Lockheed C-130 J Super Hercules

By Prashant Prabhakar

An updated version of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft with new engines, flight deck and other systems.

Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules | Lockheed Martin

The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission and is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. The flexible design of the Hercules enables it to be configured for many different missions, allowing one aircraft to perform the role of many.

C 130| Lockheed Martin

It is designed in such a way that it can be rapidly reconfigured for the various types of cargo such as palletized equipment, floor-loaded material, airdrop platforms, container delivery system bundles and aeromedical evacuation.

Representative | India Today

The C-130J is the latest addition to the C-130 fleet and has replaced aging C-130Es and some of the high time C-130Hs. With a demonstrated performance of more than 2 million flight hours supporting tactical airlift, search and rescues, special operations and refueling missions around the globe, the C-130J Super Hercules is the most advanced C-130 ever designed.

A Super Hercules cockpit| Representative | Weikipedia

Specifications and performance

3 (two pilots, and one loadmaster are minimum crew)
Payload main42,000 lb (19,051 kg)
Max take-off weight155,000 lb (70,307 kg)
Powerplant4 ×Rolls Royce 2100 AE engines
Propellers6-bladed Dowty R391 composite constant-speed fully-feathering reversible-pitch propellers
Cruise speed644 km/h
Range3,300 km at max normal payload
Service ceiling28,000 ft with 42,000 lb

The C-130J Hercules is the only model in production and as of March 2022, 500 C-130J aircraft were delivered to 26 operators in 22 countries.

C-130J Super Hercules | DNA India

India’s C-130J Hercules

Powered by four Rolls-Royce AE2100 engines and Dowty six-bladed props that provide the aircraft with a great deal of power, the aircraft has operated for the past several years in the mountainous areas of Afghanistan (in conditions similar to India) and shown exceptional performance.

Rolls Royce AE 2100 Engines | Representative | Wikipedia

The heart of the new Super Hercules advanced technology is its modern flight station with multi-function, LCD screen for aircraft flight control, operating, and navigation systems. In addition to the four displays on the instrument panel, pilots use holographic head-up displays as primary flight instruments, a precedent among military transports.

A C-130J Co-Pilot’s Heads-Up display (HUD) | Wikimedia

The Embraer C-390 millennium

Flight Global

Produced by the Brazilian Aerospace Manufacturer Embraer, the Embraer C-390 Millennium is a medium-size, twin-engine, jet-powered military transport aircraft and can be configured to perform various conventional operations such as troop, VIP and cargo transportation, and more specialised logistical operations such as aerial refuelling as a tanker.

Co-Pilot’s Heads-Up display (HUD) | Wikimedia

The C-390 has been marketed as a jet-powered alternative to the C-130 Hercules produced by Lockheed Martin and is the largest and most complicated aircraft ever built by Embraer.

Having made its first flight in February 2015, the KC-390 can carry out a range of missions, including humanitarian support, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, and aerial refuelling.

A C-390 Air Refuelling test | Representative | Air Data News

Designed to be reconfigured in less than three hours to support different missions, it is powered by two turbofans, can be refuelled in-flight and also used for mid-air refuelling of other aircraft.

Featuring fly-by-wire technology, which considerably reduces pilot workload, the aircraft uses computed air release point (CARP) technology to provide greater accuracy during air dropping, thereby reducing crew workload.


The cockpit is equipped with Collins Aerospace’s Pro Line Fusion avionics system which features five 15in, night vision imaging system (NVIS) compatible, high-resolution LCD displays.

The advanced avionics system also enables enhanced situational awareness, due to its synthetic vision capabilities and graphical flight planning.

The self-protection suite

The self-protection suite (SPS) of the tactical aircraft includes detection and countermeasures such as radar warning receiver (RWR), missile approach warning system (MAWS), laser warning system (LWS), enhanced vision system (EVS), and directional infrared counter measures (DIRCM).

Additionally, it also features ballistic armour protection against 7.62mm bullets and is equipped with chaff and flare systems to distract and counter incoming missile threats.

Propulsion system

The aircraft’s propulsion system features two International Aero Engines’ (IAE) V2500-E5 engines, each providing an upward thrust of approximately 31,330lb (138kN) and a fully electronic aircraft-to-engine interface.

Landing gear

Representative | Wallpapers Vista

The KC-390 is equipped with double chamber shocker absorber system and modern hydraulic systems that enable the aircraft to operate with heavy payloads and land even on semi-prepared airfields.

Specifications and performance

CrewThree flight crew (2 pilots, 1 loadmaster)
Max take-off weight86,999 kg
Powerplant2 × IAE V2500-E5 turbofan
Cruise speed870 km/h
Range5,820 km
Service ceiling36,000 ft
Armament (Headpoints)3 with a capacity of POD Optical / IR Rafael Litening II / IFR Cobham 900E


According to Embraer, the company is in talks with Indian authorities with its C-390 Millennium offering.  It has collaborated with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to produce three ‘Netra’ AEW&C on the Embraer ERJ145 platform which is operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

IAF ERJ145 | Indo Defense

(The author is an avid aviation professional, holds a degree in aerospace engineering. Before diving in to acquire a Flight dispatcher licence from DGCA he got valuable industry experience working for Indigo as Technical officer. Now he is providing his services to a growing firm which provides for leading non-scheduled operators in India. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. Reproducing this content without permission is prohibited).

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