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RAF Lyneham - A combined Royal Air Force/Lockheed Martin flight crew, flying a production-standard, unmodified C-130J-30 Hercules transport, set two world aeronautical records today as the Royal Air Force's newest aircraft was delivered to its operating base here.

The records, set in the Unlimited and Class C-1.M, Turboprop categories, were both previously unclaimed and are for speed over a recognized course from Atlanta, Georgia, (Dobbins Air Reserve Base) to Swindon, Wiltshire, UK (RAF Lyneham). The transatlantic flight was made nonstop and unrefueled.

The crew left Dobbins ARB at 8.29.20pm EST on December 7 and arrived in England 9 hours 58 minutes 14 seconds later at 11.27.34am local time December 8. The flight crew, which consisted of Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems (LMAS) company pilot Arlen Rens as pilot in command and RAF Group Capt. Jeff Bullen as copilot, flew the 4,127.73 statute mile (3,586.90 nautical mile) course at an average speed of 405 mph ground speed. LMAS pilot Ed Delehant served as the relief pilot, and Tim Gomez was the aircraft system specialist on the flight.

Arlen Rens made the takeoff and Group Captain Jeff Bullen, who is the station commander at RAF Lyneham, was at the controls when the aircraft touched down.

"These records are simply a further reflection of the capability of the C-130J-30," said Rens. "We took what is used to be thought of strictly as a tactical transport and flew it what is regarded as a strategic distance at relatively high speed without stopping for gas. The C-13OJ is a truly awesome machine."

The crew took off with 45,000 pounds of fuel on board. The efficiency of the C-130J's new Rolls-Royce Allison AE21OOD3 propulsion system was effectively demonstrated on the flight, as there was sufficient fuel to fly an additional two hours with adequate reserves upon landing.

The records will first be certified as United States national records by the Arlington, Virginia-based National Aeronautic Association, the nation's oldest aviation organization. The NAA is the U.S. representative to the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the sanctioning body for all world aviation records. The FAI will then recognize the marks as world records.

Formal review of the flight by the two sanctioning bodies is expected to take several weeks.

"Having spent the last two and a half years listening to what the C-130J can't do, I've just spent 10 hours experiencing what it can do, and it was extremely impressive," said Group Captain Bullen. "We now need to take full advantage of this increased capability as soon as possible."

The aircraft (RAF serial number ZH866, company number 5414) is the third of 25 aircraft that will be delivered to Lyneham, the RAF Strike Command's main Hercules operating base. The first two aircraft were handed over in ceremonies last month, on November 23. The RAF is the launch customer for the J-model, the most advanced version of the Hercules built.

Other international customers for the `J' model include the Royal Australian Air Force, whose 12 C-130J-30s are now being delivered, and the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force), which has 18 aircraft currently on order. The United States currently has 37 aircraft on order or pending, but the Air Force has a stated requirement for at least 168 aircraft over the next several years. In addition to the standard transport role, the U.S. military has ordered variants for aerial tanking, weather reconnaissance, and electronic countermeasure operations.

The C-130J-30 is based on the standard C-130J model, but features a fuselage that is 180 inches (457.2 centimetres) longer, and provides the larger capacity required by many operators. The increase in fuselage length does not change the flight characteristics of the aircraft.

When compared to the standard model, the `-30' carries seven 463L pallets (the 88 x 108 inch pallets that are the worldwide uniform size) rather than five, 97 medical litters instead of 74, and 24 Container Delivery System (CDS) bundles instead of 16 on airdrop missions. The C-130J-30 also carries 128 combat troops, rather than the 92 of the standard model, and 92 paratroopers instead of 64. The RAF has ordered both the C-130J and the C-130J-30.

The C-130J-30 Hercules is 112 feet, 9 inches (34.69 metres) long and has a wingspan of 132 feet, 7 inches (40.42 metres). With full fuel for maximum range, the aircraft has a payload capacity of 39,311 pounds (17,261 kilograms).

These are the first records to be set by a crew flying the C-130J-30, but earlier this year a Lockheed Martin crew set 50 world marks in a standard C-130J. Twenty-one records were set in the Class C-1.N, Turboprop category for speed over a 1,000 and 2,000 kilometre closed course and for altitude with payload. The other 29 records were set in the Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL), Class N, Turboprop category for 1,000 and 2,000 kilometre speed over a closed course, altitude with paylo and time-to-climb to 3,000, 6,000, and 9,000 metres. Rens and Gomez formed two-thirds of the crew who set the earlier records.

Note to Editors: A picture accompanying this release will be available in the PR Newswire folder of the PA Bulletin Board. There is no charge for using the picture or story.

SOURCE Lockheed Martin

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