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MC-130P Combat Shadow

The MC-130P Combat Shadow is a American tanker aircraft as part of the Air Force Special Operations Command from the United States Air Force (USAF). The main task of these aircraft is to refuel special forces helicopters.
The Americans prefer to do that at night with low visibility, by missions in political or hostile environment. Secondary tasks can be: dropping of small units special forces, take-off and land under special conditions of of special operations and they can also receive fuel from other tanker Aircraft.

The American Air Force has an inventory of 24 MC-130P aircraft, the Air National Guard has 4. In 1996 they have been updated and also in 2005. This last update contains: improved navigation, communication, threat detection and electronic countermeasures systems. The whole MC-130P fleet has a fully integrated navigation and GPS system, night vision goggles, exterior lighting, FLIR, radar and missile warning receivers, chaffs and flares, night vision goggle which are compatible with the head-up display, satellite and data communication, refuel capacity (only on 15 aircraft).

During special operations the MC-130P can fly without external lighting and communication for low/none recognition of enemy radar and weapons.


There is a contract with Lockheed Martin to deliver 15 new MC-130J Combat Shadow II aircraft to replace the current fleet. The Special Operations Command (SOC) of the USAF is authorized to buy 20 planes.
On March 29, 2011, the first new MC-130J rolled out of the factory of Lockheed Martin.
On April 22, 2011 the MC-130J made his first flight.

United States Air Force S.O. MC-130P Combat Shadow
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Last updated: April 25, 2011