An Ode to Herks:

The Lexington Institute’s Loren Thompson has just issued a new 14-page report “C-130J: How the Best Military Aircraft Became Even Better” that extols the many virtues of the C-130 Hercules, which he terms “the most successful aircraft in the history of military aviation.” The point of the report is to cast light on “a versatile, rugged, affordable plane” whose “remarkable durability has worked against it in the corridors of power.” In short, the many versions of the Hercules still flying in the US military, particularly in the Air Force, are getting old and need replacement, soon. Thompson recommends the US develop a long-term plan to continue production of the newest version, the C-130J Super Hercules, because there is no other viable substitute for this aircraft that serves as a tactical airlifter, medical evacuation aircraft, aerial refueler, gunship for close air support, communications jammer, weather reconnaissance aircraft, and more. He recommends a multiyear purchase of at least 16 aircraft per year for the US, supplemented by foreign orders as the “most cost-effective” approach.