The first MC-130J Combat Shadow II was delivered to Air Force’s Special Operations Command (AFSOC) on Sept. 29. The military ordered 20 of the special missions aircraft.

The MC-130J Combat Shadow II will modernize the C-130 force and will be used in infiltration, exfiltration, resupplying special operations troops, and for mid-air refueling (mostly of spec ops helicopters and aircraft).

The planes are completely awesome. They use several rockets placed on different parts of the aircraft to help them take off and land on short runways (check out the video at the bottom of this page). The Combat Shadow II builds on this with five turboprops and by being lighter than any previous model, giving it 25 percent more takeoff power than any model before it.

“The threats to freedom are ever evolving and as such so must the technology to combat them,” said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin vice president for C-130 programs, in a press release.

“Again—as it has done so often throughout history—the C-130 Hercules has evolved to be the tip of a new spear. The MC-130J Combat Shadow II is unmatched in capability and will give our Special Operations forces the upper hand as they execute critical missions around the world,” Martin said.

The new aircraft is base on the KC-130J tanker baseline and functions like a fortress in the sky with a combat systems operator station on the flight deck, dual Satcom, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, and some of the common refueling features. It took its first flight earlier this year on April 20, at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Georgia.

Below is a video on the history of the C-130 that also shows off the different rockets it uses on short runways.

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Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

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