The death toll of the crash of a 51-year-old Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules shortly after take-off in a residential area of Medan, Indonesia on 30 June, now stands at 142 victims.
The beginnings of this military transport aircraft date back to the mid 50’s, and it is still widely used around the world. Made by the US aircraft manufacturer Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin), the aircraft has been produced in over 70 different versions to sixty countries in all. On 23 August 1954, the C-130 made its first flight at Burbank, California, and two years later entered service with the US Air Force.
With its 7,400 kilometre (4,600 mile) range, its 20 metric tons (44,100 lb) payload, its rear access ramp (under the tail) and its ability to land on unprepared runways, the military transport aircraft became highly successful. To date, more than 2,500 units have been built. The versatile C-130 Hercules can drop bombs or paratroopers, and deliver humanitarian assistance to repatriate wounded personnel. Used in the Vietnam War, the Falklands, and the Gulf, since the 60’s, it has served in numerous conflicts.
The latest version of the C-130 Hercules (C-130J) came into service in 1998. Since then, more than 300 units, both civilian and military, have been delivered.