The Commandos seen here are deployed with the 1st Special Operations Squadron (1st SOS), which uses them “to conduct infiltration, exfiltration and resupply for allied forces in austere environments.”
The MC-130J Commando is part of the C-130 family of military transport airplanes and was first flown back in 2011. The plane is still in the process of being delivered to the military, with the date of full deployment set for 2025.
The Lockheed Martin aircraft is powered by four Rolls-Royce turboprop engines, delivering 4,591 shaft horsepower and helping the bird reach speeds of 362 knots (417 mph/671 kph). It can lift 164,000 lbs and fly for distances of up to 3,000 miles (4,828 km, but aerial refueling is available if need be), and at altitudes of up to 28,000 feet (8,534 meters).
Generally, it was designed for “clandestine, or low visibility, single or multiship, low-level infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces,” and it can deliver its cargo by airdrop or airland.
When the full rollout of the family is complete, the Air Force will have a total of 57 Commandos in its fleet. We’ve seen the existing ones in action before, but witnessing almost ten percent of the entire flock in the sky at the same time is not something that happens every day.