Lockheed Martin flies FireHerc firefighting variant of C-130J turboprop in Farnborough

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (NYSE:LMT) in Marietta, Ga., is bringing its popular four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft to the fire fight with the LM-100J FireHerc, introduced at Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, England. The LM-100J FireHerc is a civil-certified firefighting airtanker variant of the company’s C-130J Super Hercules airlifter, used by 18 nations around the world to perform military and civil missions.
The LM-100J, the commercial freighter production model of the C-130J and an updated version of the legacy L-100 commercial Hercules freighter, sports a straight-wing design and turboprop power plant for challenging low-level, low-speed firefighting missions. “The Hercules plays a vital role in firefighting by dispersing retardant to contain and control fires in locations with complex terrain and compromised operating conditions,” company officials say.

FireHerc features:
  • Advanced flight deck avionics that provide situational awareness and modern safety features to protect and guide flight crews through challenging conditions.
  • The ability to support two different retardant dispersion solutions: the gravity-drop based Coulson Aviation RADS Product Line or the pressure-type dispersal Modular Aerial Firefighting System II (MAFFS II), both certified by the U.S. Forest Service on the Hercules platform to meet strict ground coverage standards.
  • A path to support night firefighting with advanced integrated technology, enabling responders to combat fires on a 24/7 cycle.

FireHerc enabling technologies for night firefighting missions include: 
  •  Multi-spectral sensors allowing the pilot to see a composite image augmenting what he sees out the window whether day, night or in the weather
  • Synthetically generated three-dimensional terrain features helping the pilot understand his position relative to terrain and flight path
  • Integration of these synthetic and multi-spectral sensors will provide a 24-hour-a-day Visual Meteorological Conditions
  • (VMC) capability solution for all-weather conditions, from darkness to clouds to smoke

"With the presence of wildfires increasing on a global scale, there is a real-time need to provide more advanced assets to protect our people, communities, and environment," says George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. "As a variant of the C-130J Super Hercules, the FireHerc delivers a powerful combination of established performance advantages and innovative technology that will truly change the way we fight and defeat wildfires."
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. This year the company received three Edison Awards for innovations in autonomy, satellite technology, and directed energy.

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Courtney E. Howard is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group. Contact her by e-mail at courtney.howard@sae.org

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