The USAF’s sole remaining Lockheed MC-130H Combat Talon II departed its home base at Hurlburt Field, Florida, for the last time on April 2, when it was flown to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, where it will be placed in long-term storage in the famous Boneyard with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG).
The aircraft (serial 89-0280), which belonged to the 1st Special Operations Wing (SOW), was the last of six airframes to end up at the Arizona facility.
Lt Gen Tony Bauernfeind, the commander of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), was at the controls of the aircraft during its final flight as part of a Total Force crew. He said: “Today marks the end of a legacy for one of the finest airplanes ever flown in AFSOC. The MC-130H Combat Talon II – or, as the crew that’ve flown it call it, the ‘Chariot of Armageddon’ – held a critical mission of special operations forces mobility in infiltrating and exfiltrating into many of the hardest locations in the world, while upholding the Talon standard of absolute precision. I’m very proud of the entire Talon community: the crews, maintainers and operations support personnel.”
The Combat Talon II is a derivative of the legacy C-130H Hercules and had been stationed at Hurlburt Field since 1992. It was optimized to be deployed on infil/exfil missions and to resupply special forces units in hostile and denied areas of operation. Given its air-to-air refueling capability, it was also a key element in the air force’s ability to extend the range of AFSOC helicopters and tiltrotors.
Having been in service for more than 30 years, the entire Talon II fleet has now been retired after flying approximately 264,442 flight hours in total since late 1992. Replacing the MC-130H and the already retired MC-130E/P will be the much more modern and upgraded MC-130J Commando II.