Final MC-130H completes PDM process

The last US Air Force (USAF)-operated Lockheed MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft to receive programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins Air Force Base (AFB), Georgia, has been completed.

The aircraft - serial 87-0023 - departed the base on August 20 to return to its unit, the 1st Special Operations Wing’s 15th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) ‘Global Eagles’ at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The MC-130H variant is currently being phased out of USAF service and being replaced by the Lockheed Martin MC-130J Commando II.

The MC-130H provides infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces and equipment in hostile or denied territory. Its secondary missions include psychological operations, and helicopter and vertical lift air refuelling. According to Doug Ruggerio, a C-130 senior master scheduler with the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the PDM process for the new MC-130J model will start in fiscal year 2023.

Last MC-130H PDM
USAF MC-130H Combat Talon II 87-0023 departs from Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins AFB, Georgia, on August 20. The aircraft was the last of this variant to undergo PDM as the type is being progressively withdrawn from service and replaced by the MC-130J. USAF/Joseph Mather

A total of 24 production MC-130Hs were delivered to the USAF, four of which have been lost in accidents. Eight others are now stored with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. As wind-down of operations with the type began, the first of these arrived at AMARG on September 21, 2015, while the most recent arrival there was on August 13, 2021.

All 12 of the remaining operational MC-130Hs are now operated by the 15th SOS. The variant was also flown by the 353rd Special Operations Group’s 1st SOS ‘Stray Goose International’ at Kadena Air Base, Japan, until a couple of years ago. The unit has completed conversion to the MC-130J and its final MC-130H departed from Kadena on December 4, 2019, to return to Hurlburt Field.