The C-130 and Taiwan

The C-130 cargo plane has been around for over 60 years - a dependable, relatively inexpensive warhorse. New weapons technology (Rapid Dragon) is expanding the role of the plant and would help defend Taiwan.

"During a live-fire exercise over Norway, the service showcased the ability to deploy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) from cargo aircraft, such as the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, via the Rapid Dragon Palletized Weapon System.

"Developed by the US Air Force and Lockheed, Rapid Dragon is an airdropped palletized and disposable weapons module that provides unmodified cargo aircraft, such as the C-130J, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III and Lockheed MC-130, with the ability to deploy an array of flying munitions, such as cruise missiles. Slowed by parachutes, the pallets release their missiles through the use of an attached electronic control box…All the components making up Red Dragon are held within the pallet, which can be dropped from a height of just 3,000 feet…

" The development of Rapid Dragon has reportedly alarmed Chinese military experts, according to an article in the Science and Technology section of China National Defense News , a sister publication for the PLA Daily . The latter serves as the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Military Commission."

DB2

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How many transport planes can now be used as bombers? Doubling the bomber fleet?

The Captain

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Currently the US Air Force has some 140 bombers, while the number of C-130s is about 300 (with plans to reduce to 250). There are in addition over 220 C-17s in service.

(250+220)/140 = 3.4

https://www.boeing.com/defense/c-17-globemaster-iii/

DB2

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What a great idea…doc

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Do any of them have the doors for that? Or the pressurized and depressurized compartments worked for that?

Here’s a picture of a C-130 doing an airdrop:

And a C-17:
C-17 Globemaster airdrop by Rob Tobler

Apparently the currently approved limit for the C-17 is 25,000 feet.

DB2

Talking about using Hercs as bombers, a concept that has been around since the first air-launched cruise missiles were produced, decades ago, would endanger whizzy new, multi-billion dollar programs, like the B-21. Can’t have all that “protected free speech” Northrup handed out for that boondoggle go to waste!!!
/sarcasm

Speaking of the B-21, apparently, the Air Force is admitting to a cost of $700M per aircraft, and a program cost for “development” and production of some $203B as of last month. Of course, we know how useful early program cost estimates are these days.

Can’t have such a spiffy program unhorsed by a Herc!
/sarcasm

Steve

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Easy read with some very good information, F35 and B21