The Last MC-130H Combat Talon II Special Operations Aircraft Has Been Retired

MC-130H retired

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MC-130H retired
The final MC-130H Fight Talon II, Tail Quantity 89-0280, taxis after touchdown at Davis-Monthan Air Drive Base, Ariz., April 2, 2023. The plane departed Hurlburt Subject for the 309th Aerospace Upkeep and Regeneration Group, also referred to as the “Boneyard,” at Davis-Monthan Air Drive Base. (U.S. Air Drive photograph by Senior Airman Natalie Fiorilli)

The ultimate MC-130H flew for the final time earlier this month, retiring on the 309th AMARG within the Arizona desert.

Earlier this month, on April 2, 2023, the ultimate MC-130H Fight Talon ll made its final flight, arriving at Davis-Monthan Air Drive Base, Arizona, to retire on the 309th Aerospace Upkeep and Regeneration Group (AMARG), also known as the boneyard. This plane was the final of the ultimate six MC-130Hs nonetheless in service with the Air Drive Particular Operations Command.

Members of the Talon neighborhood gathered at Hurlburt Subject, Florida, to see the MC-130H, tail quantity 89-0280 belonging to the first Particular Operations Wing, take off for the final time. As members of the fifteenth Particular Operations Squadron ready for takeoff, households, mates and former MC-130H crews joined them to say goodbye to the plane after a 30-year profession.

Floor crews additionally made positive to participate in what has turn into a preflight ritual for the Fight Talon II – rubbing the aircraft’s large, rounded nose. “There’s particular stuff you do at any time when a aircraft leaves,” Employees Sgt. Kevin Rutkowski stated. “With the MC-130H, I used to provide it an enormous hug on the nostril and inform it goodbye and to maintain my mates protected. I did that each single time.”

The plane was flown by a Complete Drive crew and included Lt Gen Tony Bauernfeind, AFSOC commander, to pay homage to the heroic legacy and repair the Talon II has offered for AFSOC and the joint pressure over the previous 30 years. A former commander of the fifteenth SOS and longtime MC-130H pilot, Lt Gen Bauernfeind made it a priority to take part in the final flight, accompanied by fifteenth SOS Commander Lt Col Adam Schmidt.

“At present marks the tip of a legacy for one of many best airplanes ever flown in AFSOC,” stated the AFSOC commander. “The MC-130H Fight Talon II, or because the crews that’ve flown it name it: “The Chariot of Armageddon,” held a crucial mission of particular operations forces mobility in infiltrating and exfiltrating into lots of the hardest areas on this planet whereas upholding the Talon Commonplace of absolute precision. I’m very pleased with all the Talon neighborhood; the crews, maintainers, and operations help personnel.”

“I’ve spent a majority of my profession being round this superb airplane, its maintainers and operational help workers,” continued Lt Gen Bauernfeind. “I felt that it needs to be despatched off proper, understanding full properly that we’re capturing its heritage. And never solely that, however that there will likely be different plane that comply with behind it, that keep that very same ‘Talon Commonplace’ and maintain that heritage going ahead.”

First arrived at Hurlburt Subject in June 1992, the MC-130H Fight Talon II is a spinoff of the C-130H Hercules modified to help particular operations and performed a significant position in AFSOC operations throughout the globe. Missions carried out with the MC-130H concerned infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of particular operations forces and gear in hostile and denied territories, along with air refueling operations of rotary wing property and even a “bomber role” with the GBU-43 MOAB. Moreover, it additionally offered SOF commanders with an all-weather, low-level penetration choice using its terrain following capabilities.

“The Talon II was a navigator’s dream because of the planning required and techniques experience essential to fly it,” stated Col. Richard Greszler, Jr., AFSOC Operations Middle commander and prior MC-130H navigator. “The power to fly in mountainous terrain in [instrument meteorological conditions] required extraordinarily detailed mission planning, so each flight required the entire crew to know the restrictions of the plane and the crew, and to push proper as much as the sting to be able to achieve success. The power to challenge energy and penetrate denied or delicate areas to additional our Nation’s curiosity was the hallmark of the Talon II.”

The final MC-130H Fight Talon II, Tail Quantity 89-0280, taxis after touchdown at Davis-Monthan Air Drive Base, Ariz., April 2, 2023. The plane departed Hurlburt Subject for the 309th Aerospace Upkeep and Regeneration Group, also referred to as the “Boneyard,” at Davis-Monthan Air Drive Base. (U.S. Air Drive photograph by Senior Airman Natalie Fiorilli)

Over the past 30 years, the Fight Talon ll supported combat and humanitarian operations together with Operation Allied Drive, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, to call just a few. After the ultimate touchdown, the MC-130H fleet has gathered roughly 264,442 complete flight hours and 106,850 sorties. The final MC-130H within the 1st SOW’s stock will likely be retired later this summer time in Hurlburt Subject’s airpark, cementing the retirement of the Talon II fleet in AFSOC.

The MC-130H is being changed by the MC-130J Commando II, which has been operational since 2011. The MC-130J already replaced all the MC-130P Combat Shadows, with 56 presently in service out of a complete order of 64 plane, the final of which is predicted to be delivered in 2025. The Commando II took over the missions assigned to the Fight Talon II and can be present process upgrades to be higher geared up for future challenges.

To exchange the terrain following capability of the MC-130H’s extremely specialised AN/APQ-170 radar, the AFSOC is putting in the AN/APQ-187 Silent Knight radar on the MC-130J. In reality, initially the Commando II was supposed to make use of a variant of the usual C-130’s AN/APN-241 radar, however it was later determined to combine the Silent Knight radar as it’s changing into the widespread terrain-following/terrain avoidance radar throughout the U.S. particular operations aviation neighborhood. The radar is already put in on the a hundred and sixtieth Particular Operations Aviation Regiment’s MH-60Ms and MH-47Gs and is being built-in additionally on the AFSOC CV-22Bs.

The MC-130Js are additionally being upgraded with new communications and data-sharing networking capabilities, a brand new self-protection suite and so they would possibly even get a new amphibious kit for water operations, though it is going to be a long-term improvement program, which might are available helpful for operations within the Pacific Ocean space.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally learning to attain a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.



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