Just take a look at the main image of this pic (click photo to enlarge). It shows an HC-130J Combat King II sitting peacefully on the flight line at the Moffett Federal Airfield in California. Behind it, an army of other airplanes, the lights of the city, and above a slightly cloud-covered sky with the last remnants of light from a setting sun coming from the right.
Now, the image shows an as-real-as-they-get airplane. We’re talking about the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) only dedicated fixed-wing Personnel Recovery platform, a Lockheed HC-130-derived machine that has been around for about a decade now.
This one is deployed with the 130th Rescue Squadron headquartered at the said base, one of the younger USAF units, that has been around since 2003.
Like all others of its breed, this Combat King is powered by four Rolls Royce turboprop engines that allow it to lift 164,000 pounds (74,389 kilograms) and achieve speeds of up to 364 mph (586 kph).
Yet, despite knowing all of the above, the perfectly captured image of the airplane makes us unable to stop the feeling we’re staring at a still coming straight out of a video game, although to our knowledge at the moment, this particular monster is featured in none.
Or, if you like, a wallpaper-grade image created in one of those fancy photo editing programs.