CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, NM – The 27th Special Operations Wing held an aircraft acceptance ceremony Sept. 29 on the Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., flightline for the arrival of Air Force Special Operations Command’s first MC-130J Combat Shadow II.
Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel, AFSOC commander, and Brig. Gen. Stephen Clark, AFSOC director of plans, programs, requirements and assignments, were part of the official party flying the aircraft to Cannon for delivery to the 522nd Special Operations Squadron.
The MC-130J is the next generation special operations warfighter and a newer, better special operations C-130, said Lt. Col. Paul Pendleton, 522 SOS commander.
The MC-130J Combat Shadow II is the newest variant of the C-130J Super Hercules four-engine turboprop aircraft. The C-130 has been continuously produced longer than any military aircraft in history and has been a crucial component of U.S. special operations for decades.
The “J-model” boasts more power and efficiency, longer range, shorter takeoff distance, a smaller required crew and a modern computerized flight deck.
“We can carry about 40 percent more, it’s about 25 percent more powerful and 15 to 20 percent faster,” said Pendleton. “It’s entirely computerized; this allows us to better complete our mission.”
The aircraft was delivered to Cannon from the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga.
A few of the Combat Shadow II’s capabilities are to provide nighttime low-level infiltration and exfiltration, aerial refueling of helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft, aerial delivery and resupply of Special Operations Forces and ground refueling.
This is a historic event for Cannon, said Fiel. “It marks a milestone in improving the combat capabilities of AFSOC and more importantly the 27 SOW.”
“Members of the 522 SOS will rewrite history as they fly the MC-130 farther, faster and higher,” he said. “As innovative Air Commandos you will push this plane to its limits and find creative ways to employ our people more effectively.”
Col. Buck Elton, 27 SOW commander, spoke briefly on the significance of receiving the new aircraft and what it means for AFSOC’s mission.
“This newest version of a combat proven aircraft has big shoes to fill, but there is no doubt that the MC-130J will take specialized mobility to a new level,” said Elton. “This incredible new aircraft will quickly become the backbone of our nation’s C-130 fleet. This is an exciting time for our base, our command and our Air Force.”