Introducing the F-35 Lightning, F-22 Raptor and C-130 Hercules (nickname HERK)
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is the fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air superiority missions. It has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) variant. On 31 July 2015, the United States Marines declared ready for deployment the first squadron of F-35B fighters after intensive testing. On 2 August 2016, the U.S. Air Force declared its first squadron of F-35A fighters combat-ready.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation, single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The result of the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but also has ground attack, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence capabilities. The prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, built most of the F-22's airframe and weapons systems and conducted final assembly, while Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems. The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 before it formally entered service in December 2005 as the F-22A. After a protracted development and despite operational issues, the USAF considers the F-22 critical to its tactical air power, and says that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter.] The Raptor's combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and situational awareness gives the aircraft unprecedented air combat capabilities.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin). Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. More than 40 variants of the Hercules, including a civilian one marketed as the Lockheed L-100, operate in more than 60 nations.
The C-130 entered service with the U.S. in the 1950s, followed by Australia and many other nations. During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in numerous military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft[N 1] to mark 50 years of continuous service with its original primary customer, which is the United States Air Force for the C-130. The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules currently being produced.
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