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.

“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.

More information about the LM-100J FireHerc is available at this link.