NP2000 also on US Navy and Marine Corps KC-130Ts

A KC-130T equipped with the new NP2000 Propeller System successfully completed an aerial refueling (AR) mission with an MV-22 Osprey during a test flight on 24 August 2020, as Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) released late September 2020.

The KC-130T, BuNo 164441/NY-441 once assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 452 "Yankees" ('NY-xxx') at Stewart International Airport (NY), is currently undergoing testing with Air Test & Evaluation Squadron (VX) "Force" from NAS Patuxent River (MD). VX-20 will qualify the Hercules to become the first NP2000 configured aircraft in the US Department of Defence, certified to conduct AR missions. The NP2000 upgrade transitioned the old C-130T’s four-bladed propeller system to the eight composite blades system. The modification goes together with an enhanced electronic control system in the cockpit.

As Scramble Magazine reported earlier, the US Air Force already certified the C-130H with the NP2000 *), but these aircraft are not able to conduct aerial refueling. One would ask what the difference is... well aerial refueling is a critical manoeuvre and airflows behind a tanker aircraft must be carefully studied. This needs a complete different approach in certifying the new eight bladed propeller system.

BuNo 164441 had not flown for almost a year and was scheduled for sundown by the US Marine Corps after the last Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron in New York transitioned to the newer KC-130J models. But the US Navy coordinated with the USMC to transfer the aircraft between inventories and the Tactical Airlift Programme Office (PMA-207) and Fleet Logistics Support Wing completed the required maintenance to bring the aircraft back to life and modified it with the NP2000. This move was of course realised by the increasing needs of aerial refueling capacity with the US forces.

Upon completion of the certification process, 164441 and future AR configured Hercules' will be transferred to the US Navy Reserve, with the Commander Fleet Logistics Support Wing, Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 62 "The Nomads" ('JW-xxx') this fall to begin its new role. VR-62 currently operates five C-130Ts, all will be modified to the NP2000. The US Navy and US Marine Corps together still have some 35 C-130Ts assigned to VR-53, VR-54, VR-55, VR-62, VR-64, VMGR-452 and the two test units VX-20 and VX-30.

Please have a look to our extensive Air Order of Battles of the US Navy and US Marine Corps at to find out where these squadrons are based.

*) US Air Force certified on NP2000 USAF's legacy C-130H will soldier on for years to come

Subscribe to Scramble

As a member you get access to all our
premium content and benefits learn more


Follow us and keep in touch