Air Force shows off new Super Herc cargo planes in Japan

By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 9, 2018

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The 374th Airlift Wing showed off one of its new C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes Thursday, flying two dozen Japanese and American journalists around Mount Fuji.

The plane — one of 14 that are replacing Vietnam War-era C-130Hs at the home of U.S. Forces Japan and the 5th Air Force in western Tokyo — has powerful engines and high-tech computer systems that give it more range and capability than the older models.

USFJ commander Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez called the Super Herc the “meanest, toughest, most tactical machine in the world” when the first of Yokota’s new aircraft arrived last spring.

Bad weather canceled a planned parachute demonstration ahead of the media flight, but reporters still got a tour of Japan’s tallest mountain in the Super Herc.

Passengers were invited into the cockpit to see digital instruments that replace gauges and switches in the new planes.

Heads-up displays in front of the Super Herc’s pilot and co-pilot showed flight information in bright green that seemed to hang in the air, from their perspectives.

The cabin is roomier than it was on the old models since powerful computers and sensors mean there’s no need for a flight engineer or navigator. They can also carry up to eight cargo pallets — two more than the older model.

Yokota’s old planes went to Air National Guard units last year. The last of Yokota’s new Super Hercs is scheduled to arrive by the end of summer, an Air Force spokesman said.

Twitter: @LeonCook12


A C-130J Super Hercules pilot with the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, looks at his flight instruments during a flight around Mount Fuji, Thursday, March 8, 2018.