While V-22 Ospreys can fly as fast as an normal airplane and land like a helicopter, the unique tilt-rotor aircraft have relatively little space for troops, cargo and fuel. Which led the U.S. Air Force to think about reviving plans for a radically modified C-130 Hercules transport.A C-130 that blasts into the air with rockets.WIB iconIn January 2013, the Air Force’s top special operations headquarters cooked up a set of requirements for a new specialized cargo plane. The Mobility Requirements Branch proposed an all new aircraft, as well as a modified Hercules.“The proposal … stemmed from the desire to have an enhanced short take-off/landing (STOL) capable … platform capable of carrying larger loads then the CV-22,” the Air Force Special Operations Command’s annual history for 2013 stated.War Is Boring obtained a heavily redacted copy of the historical review via the Freedom of Information Act.First nicknamed New Magic and then Super Sport, the project borrowed heavily from a design — codenamed Credible Sport — that the Air Force developed more than three decades earlier.
This sounds like mostly a paper “what if” study. There *are* times and places where the USAF and SOCOM would like to use something bigger than the CV-22. But for the most part, aerial refueling an Osprey is good enough.
And operating MC-130s in the wild isn’t without its own risks. See Desert One during Operation Eagle Claw. We’ve come a long way in special operations aviation since those days, but risks are risks.