US Marine Corps has grounded its KC-130T aircraft, which was used for airborne refueling and to supply cargo, troops, equipments, following a crash that killed 15 Marines and one sailor.
The Marine Corps took the action not to fly the KC-130T aircraft in the wake of the mishap on July 10 until further notice," the Corps said in a statement Thursday. The plane is often used for airborne refueling, and can also deliver cargo, troops and equipment, CNN reported Friday.
The transport plane, which was carrying 15 Marines and a Navy corpsman, was moving personnel and equipment from North Carolina to a western base to train before deploying, the Marine Corps said. It has 12 of the aircraft in its fleet.
The crash remains under investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration reported it lost contact with the plane when it was flying at an estimated altitude of 20,000 feet.
Andy Jones, a witness to the crash, said "At first it looked like an acrobatic plane, like a stunt plane, blowing the smoke out the back,"
"Then all of a sudden you realized that the smoke was coming off one of the sides of the wing." he added.
The Lockheed Martin KC-130 is the basic designation for a family of the extended-range tanker version of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft modified for aerial refueling.
The aircraft is also the latest variant operated by the US Marine Corps, with 48 delivered out of 79 ordered. It replaced older KC-130F, KC-130R, and KC-130T variants, while one USMC reserve unit still operates 12 KC-130T aircraft.
The KC-130F made its first test flight in January 1960 as the GV-1 under the old Navy designation system. First entering service in 1962, the KC-130F was designed to undertake aerial refueling missions in support of USMC aircraft. It was developed from the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $132 million contract for two U.S
Rolls Royce has won a contract worth $64 million from the US Navy to support KC-130J aircraft propulsion systems. “Rolls Royce will provide performance based logistics supplies, services, and related support for KC-130J aircraft propulsion systems, including the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and the R391 propeller system, quick engine change kit, and associated propulsion components,” the US Department of Defense announced Monday
Lockheed Martin has delivered first of two KC-130R Hercules refueling or transport aircraft to Chilean Air Force, Forecast International reported Tuesday. The KC-130R was previously flown by the USMC and offered by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) as an Excess Defense Article in September 2012
Lockheed Martin delivered the tenth and final US Marine Corps KC-130J Super Hercules tanker on 5 June, modified under the Harvest Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) program. Harvest HAWK is a long endurance, armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platform
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