Logistics: KC-130J

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April 15,2008: The U.S. Marine Corps has received the first of nine new KC-130J aerial tankers [PHOTO]. Based on the latest version of the C-130 (the C-130J), the new tanker can carry 40 tons of fuel (50 percent more than its predecessor, the KC-130F.) The U.S. Air Force tanker fleet uses KC-135s, which carry 90 tons of fuel and can transfer up to 68 tons. Typically, aerial tankers have to service everything from heavy bombers like B-52s, which carry over 140 tons of jet fuel, to fighters like the F-18 (which carry five tons of fuel). The new KC-45A will carry 108 tons.

The KC-130J mostly services F-18s, and can also land and transfer fuel to helicopters, ground vehicles and fuel storage bladders at a rate of 1.8 tons (600 gallons) a minute. This is very useful. The marines need some aerial refueling capability, for when air force tankers are not available, and have used a dozen KC-130Fs since the 1960s. The tankers double as cargo and troops transports. The KC-130J is also 20 percent faster and has a third more range than the older KC-130F.

 


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