FireHerc firefighting airtanker to be built at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta plant

FireHerc firefighting airtanker in flight spreading a bright red flame retardant.FireHerc (photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

The LM-100J FireHerc, a civil-certified firefighting airtanker variant of the C-130J Super Hercules airlifter, was unveiled by Lockheed Martin at the Farnborough International Airshow (FIAS) in England on Monday.

Stephanie Stinn, a spokesperson for the company, told the Courier that the FireHerc will be built at the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Georgia, as are all C-130s.

According to a press release about the introduction of the aircraft, “The LM-100J is the commercial freighter production model of the C-130J Super Hercules and an updated version of the legacy L-100 commercial Hercules freighter. The LM-100J is flying at and on static display at this year’s FIAS.”

C-130s have flown millions of hours for military and civilian operators for more than 60 years.  Variants of the craft have been used in firefighting missions for over 40 years.

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“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,” said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin in the company’s press release. “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.”

The Hercules disperses a retardant to contain and control fires in locations with complex terrain and compromised operating conditions. The FireHerc’s straight-wing design and turboprop power plant allow it to operate in challenging low-level, low-speed firefighting.

According to the press release, additional FireHerc advantages include:

  • Advanced flight deck avionics that provide outstanding 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 have been 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, allowing responders to combat fires on an unprecedented 24/7 cycle — providing an unmatched advantage against nature.
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More information about the LM-100J FireHerc is available at this link.

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