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Military and Civilian Uses Of The C-130 And The L-100

The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft, and its civilian counterpart, the L-100, can safely be referred to as the most successful aircraft of their kind ever made. When speaking of the various missions and uses the planes have been put through, it’s almost easier to mention what they haven’t been used for over their long operational life.

The C-130 was originally developed in the early 1950’s to answer the U.S. military’s need for an aircraft that could transport large loads of equipment and personnel and be capable of operating out of short, unimproved airfields. Its first flight was in 1954, and it almost immediately became the go-to workhorse of the military. It saw extensive use in Vietnam and every theater of war since then, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It performed so well that just ten years later Lockheed Martin decided to produce a civilian version, the L-100, which first took to the skies in 1964. Sales of the aircraft were initially slower than hoped, so Lockheed redesigned the L-100 in 1967, stretching the airframe and significantly increasing the cargo capacity. They did the same in 1969 to produce the L-100-30 version, which has proved to be the most popular with the civilian market.

Both the C-130 and the L-100 have earned a sterling reputation for safety, reliability, and versatility. They have been deployed for a variety of mission, both military and civilian.

Military Uses

The United States military and that of several other nations around the world has primarily used both the C-130 and the L-100 for the mission it was designed for, to move troops and equipment where they need to be. However, with more than 40 variations of the aircraft, it has proven useful in many other roles, most notably as the AC-130 gunship that gained fame in Vietnam. Other missions include:

  • Search and rescue
  • Aerial refueling
  • Weather reconnaissance and scientific surveys
  • Air ambulance and medevac
  • Aerial firefighting
  • Ocean Patrol
  • Electronic warfare
  • Drone support and control

Some variants have even been equipped with skis for duty in the polar regions.

Civilian Uses 

In mid-2009 there were 36 L-100 aircraft in use by both military and civilian organizations around the world. In addition to most of the duties listed above as they can be applied to peacetime needs, the L-100 has been used primarily for air cargo and air charter services, and also by several airlines on regularly scheduled routes. It is also favored for transporting government personnel and other VIPs.

We have three current customers who use the C-130 Hercules of L-100 aircraft.

Coulson Aviation

Coulson Aviation uses a fleet of C-130s to fight fires around the globe.

Lynden Air Cargo

Lynden Air Cargo, another customer of C&S Propeller for maintenance, repair, and overhaul services of the 54H60 Propeller system, uses both the L-100 and C-130 Hercules for hauling freight. Lynden Air Cargo has the equipment, aircraft, and the expertise to move your cargo to remote locations throughout Alaska, Canada and destinations around the world.

International Air Response

Finally, another customer of ours, International Air Response, is a global provider of specialized aerial services. Founded in 1976, the company owns, maintains, and operates a large fleet of Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft. IAR provides safe, efficient, and effective emergency and non-emergency aerial services to a wide variety of government and private sector clients around the world.


Both the C-130 and the L-100 appear to have many more years of service ahead of them with upgrades to their systems, especially modern avionics technology.