Congress has been the one stretching the C130 lifecycle & continuous to act so.
https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 07.article
2018: " The Department of Defence was also appropriated 16 additional Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft of differing variants – more than double the number of aircraft requested. "
, and it has been going on for more than 30 years.
The question to ask Keesje is are those additional aircraft being used? The answer is yes. Just because the USAF doesn’t ask for as many of them, even though they want them, is just the political game being played between the services and Congress.
The C130 replacement is going to be a heavy vehicle mover in all studies that I have seen.
Instead of making claims how about posting valid links?
https://harpgamer.com/harpforum/topic/3 ... ttlenecks/
..the C-130J doesn’t solve the sub-survivable 20-ton armored vehicle limit that has stymied multiple US armored vehicle programs. As such, it represents an improvement that fails to address US tactical airlift’s key bottleneck limitation. Meanwhile, reports from the USAF indicate that C-130Js are often flying with very little weight and/or small cargo, because the demands of counterinsurgency airlift lead to more and smaller requests from a number of front line sources.
The C-130J thus finds itself in the odd position of offering capabilities that are both too great for many tactical needs, while being too small to meet important American strategic goals. Even Special Forces worry that future air defense threats will make the C-130 non-survivable in future gunship and insertion roles.
Keesje the above didn’t come from a study, it came from a sales article in Aviation Week 13 years ago advocating for the A400M, only problem being those same vehicles referencing in the article are now greater than the payload of the A400M…
I'm almost sure a "conventional" C-130 replacement will be launched to meet operational requirements that have outgrown the C130. It probably can't be the A400M because of national interests, so either Boeing, LM, both in combination with Raytheon Collins will come up with a badly needed, suitable, affordable platform. A ATT - Advanced Theater Transport or any other 3 character proposal.
Carrying NGCV and AMPV would be basic requirements, so up to 30t.
Basic facts wrong Keesje, of the five NGCVs being looked at only one of them will definitely be under 30t, the light version of the RCV. The Bradley replacement is now approaching 50t and had the two vehicles in a C-17 requirement removed. AMPV is 36t, the Light Tank will go to GD which is close to 40T (based on Ajax with an Abrams turret and the Abrams replacement is obviously heavy…
Under the new NGCV Program, the following systems are planned for development:
The Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV): the M-2 Bradley IFV replacement.
The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV): 2 the M-113 vehicle replacement.
Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF): 3 a light tank for Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs).
Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCVs): three versions, Light, Medium, and Heavy.
The Decisive Lethality Platform (DLP): the M-1 Abrams tank replacement.
The Army will surely realize it needs to be able to airlift it’s new toys intra-theater quickly at some point in the late 2030’s. How do you envisage that could just be abandoned?
No one is suggesting abandoning the transport of vehicles into theatre but the USAF isn’t using the C-130 to do that role. It fulfils a tactical transport role with people, pallets and the very occasional transport of vehicles that fit.
Perhaps not the Bradley replacement itself, but why not design a quad copter to carry both if possible (ideally a sling load with a V280 for any/add’l troops)?
Bradley replacement is around 50t, the AMPV is 36t. Good luck designing a quadcopter that has the ability to transport those loads and land in the areas you need it to. A quadcopter that transports a Stryker sized vehicle is more plausible and more likely for the role that those vehicles fulfil within the orbat.
The battle will be, as far as I can see it, an intro service one between a larger AAT-T (transport-tanker) more closely resembling a flying wing for the Air Force (also with a nominal tanker capability promised), and a quad tiltrotor the Army could operate (not a fixed wing!). Neither will be ‘affordable’ concepts, but the enormity of the C-130 replacement opportunity could be split in some form. Minor coincidence this will be happening as the C-17’s start becoming...really worn out.
Clearly the C-17/C-5 will need replacement at some point. Today sea based assets transport an overwhelming majority of US Army vehicles when they need to go outside the US and what is left goes via C-17/C-5. That role will continue with the next transport.
How often does a C-17 or C-130J fly into/from a semi-improved airfield?
Across Afghan/Iraq campaigns quite a bit, especially in the first ten years of the conflict in Afghanistan. The RAAF lands C-130Js on dirt strips all the time, as do a host of other nations. The RAAF lands C-17s on dirt a lot less frequently but still does.
Politics and money are what matters, not how often capabilities are used. On either side of the Atlantic. On topic, a C-130 successor needs to accommodate both. I’m so old I remember when keesje touted the A400M for USAF to replace the Herc precisely because the added space/capability would be needed. He wasn’t totally wrong, just in the timeframe/scale.
Except he was wrong, US Army vehicle weights have moved beyond the A400M.
More importantly, if that’s where the ‘competition’ is headed, why de-scale to an ‘A200M’ at this point in time?
The saving grace for any future program are the robotic vehicles. If you don’t have crew the survivability requirement changes to operation. There is no reason you couldn’t design a future light and medium robotic combat vehicle that could be C-130 capable (or within that weight size class), both in weight and size given you are removing the crew.
Bradley replacement is optionally manned so will still need sufficient crew protection and therefore weight.