Since the 1960s, the C-130 Hercules has been a workhorse of the U.S. Air Force aeromedical evacuation capability. Today, it remains a reliable platform to move patients over long distances, allowing Airmen to provide critical care in the air, aid in disaster relief missions, and bring warfighters home.
First entering service in 1956, the C-130 is a versatile aircraft, well suited to the aeromedical evacuation mission. Rugged and dependable enough for extensive operations in theater, it is capable of operating from short and unimproved runways. This helps push medical capabilities closer to the front lines. The C-130’s design allows the aircraft to quickly switch from a cargo and personnel transport configuration to an aeromedical evacuation platform for up to 74 litter patients. Outfitted with electrical and oxygen systems for aeromedical evacuation equipment, the C-130’s cabin design helps reduce the negative impact of altitude on patients.
Currently, the C-130 is used as a tactical, intra-theater aeromedical evacuation platform and is a mainstay of today’s aeromedical evacuation system.