Air Transportation: Do-It-Yourself MC-130s


July 5, 2011: South Korea is modifying four of its dozen C-130 transports to the American MC-130 standard. This will enable South Korean commandos to fly into North Korea in the event of another war or, more likely, a collapse of the North Korean government.

U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) only has about 40 MC-130s, and these are all-weather aircraft used for everything from moving SOCOM personnel and equipment around the combat zone, to parachuting supplies, refueling helicopters in the air, dropping bombs and propaganda leaflets, or loading a pallet or two of electronic gear for special reconnaissance or psychological warfare missions. MC-130s are particularly useful because they have terrain following radar that enables them to fly at low altitude, especially at night or during bad weather. MC-130s have several additional navigation and communication systems, which allow them to fly in all weather, especially low enough to avoid radar detection.

Because of their burgeoning electronics and aircraft manufacturing and maintenance industries, South Korea is one of the few countries that can upgrade a stock C-130 into an MC-130. The 70 ton MC-130H (there are several MC-130 models) has a crew of seven, a cruise speed of  480 kilometers an hour and unrefueled range of 4,300 kilometers. This version can carry 77 passengers, or 52 paratroopers or 57 litter patients or 18 tons of cargo.



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