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Q: REPLACEMENT FOR RC130B ELINT SURVELLANCE AIRCRAFT ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: kongulu-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 10 Feb 2003 08:22 PST
Expires: 12 Mar 2003 08:22 PST
Question ID: 159481
01 - What is the current version of the RC130B ELINT survellance aircraft?
02 - What is it's cruising range?
03 - How many feet to take off in warm 100 degree humid air
Answered By: byrd-ga on 12 Feb 2003 16:51 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
The RC-130B (“RC” standing for “reconaissance”) is a variant of the
workhorse Lockheed C-130 Hercules (or “Herk”), used for military
aerial reconnaissance and electronic intelligence gathering (ELINT). 
It is also known by the designations C-130B-II and E/RC-130.  The
venerable C-130 (or L-100 as the commercial version is known) has had
the longest production run of any aircraft in history.  The first of 
a total of 240 Model 282 C-130Bs entered production in 1958, with the
first ac entering service in June 1959, and the last delivery in
March, 1963.  Here are several links to the history of the aircraft in

According to information here: 
of the above total, 37 C-130B-II aircraft were redesignated as
RC-130Bs, and there were a further 13 C-130Bs that received
modifications for electronic reconnaissance.

Historically, there is little information available about the work of
the RC-130 models (AKA “Sneaky Petes”), either A or B.  What little
there is has only recently been declassified.  A link to recent
information on that is here:  And there is a little
history here:

To answer your questions specifically, 

1)Current version:  
The most current version of the C-130 Hercules would appear to be the
“J” model, which went into production in 1995.  However, there is no
chronological information to tie it to successive models of the
RC-130B specifically, only of the total production of C-130s
generally.  Furthermore, many older C-130 models and variants are
still flying, and many have been further modified from their original
use.  For example, “A few C-130Bs, used for aerial fire fighting
missions, are still in service with Air National Guard units.”
‘( )  The C-130E model
also was modified in the past to replace or supplement the RC-130B. 
( ).

There is also some reference to a RC-130S model aircraft, which is
said in one place to be a recon conversion of the RC-130A
) and in another place a variant of the C-130H
( ).   Either way, it
is the only other C-130 to be designated as specifically “RC.”  And
from all available data, it would seem that the RC-130B is probably
still in service to a large extent, with no specifically designated

Technical stats about the RC-130B model in general do not appear to be
readily available, though previously given links contain some
information.  Stats about the C-130J model can be found here:

2)Cruising range: 
The range for all models of C-130s is quite wide, from approximately
1800 to over 5000 NM, with the average being somewhere around 24-3300
NM for all models, slightly more for the “J” model.  Bear in mind that
range can fluctuate greatly, depending on factors such as payload,
power settings, airspeeed, weather, altitude, aircraft weight and

3)Takeoff distance 100 degrees F. high humidity: 
Again, bear in mind that this is not a fixed figure, but an exact
calculation will have to take into account not only the
temperature/humidity and the aircraft’s performance specifications,
but the airport elevation, runway type, wind speed and direction,
pilot technique and aircraft weight, as well as whether or not the
aircraft has JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off), and should use figures
directly from the specific aircraft’s operating handbook.  Therefore,
the following are very rough estimates only.

C-130J model -  sea level:  Approx.  4376 ft.(normal TO procedures)
             -  3,000 ft.:  Approx.  5593 ft. 
C-130J model -  sea level:  Approx.  2394 ft. (max performance TO) 
             -  3,000 ft.:  Approx.  3060 ft.  
Older C-130s –  sea level:  Approx.  4854 ft. (normal TO procedures) 
Older C-130s –  3000 ft.:   Approx.  6205 ft.    
Older C-130s –  sea level:  Approx.  2652 ft. max performance TO)
Older C-130s –  3000 ft.:   Approx.  3389 ft.   

A good general rule to use is to first calculate density altitude by
adding 120ft to the airport elevation for each degree Celsius above
the standard temperature of 15 degrees (or 59 degrees F).  Then,
increase the published (in the aircraft information manual) takeoff
distance by approximately 10% for each 800 ft. increase in density
altitude.  Here’s a link for some rules of thumb, including
calculating takeoff distances:

Some further interesting links on the C-130 can be found here: 

Search terms used:
C-130 upgrade OR replacement OR successor
C-130 performance states OR specs
RC-130 OR C-130B-II
C-130 recon OR reconnaissance
C-130 ELINT platform

Please do ask for clarification if you need it before rating/closing
the answer, so I can ensure your satisfaction with the information


Clarification of Answer by byrd-ga on 13 Feb 2003 07:55 PST
Thank you very much for the compliment and generous tip!  I'm very
glad you were pleased with the answer - I certainly enjoyed working on

Kindest regards,
kongulu-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.50
Complete answer - EXCELLENT

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