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​A C-130J Super Hercules taxies down the runway at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Marietta, Ga., Feb. 24, 2017, before taking off for Japan. Photo courtesy of David Key.

​The first C-130J-30 to be permanently assigned to the Pacific region left the Lockheed Martin facility in Greenville, S.C., on Feb. 24, according to a company release. The Super Hercules will be one of 14 assigned to Yokota AB, Japan, of which eight will be new aircraft and six will transition from Dyess AFB, Texas, according to an Air Force release. The J-model provides substantial performance improvements over the H-model, which is currently flown by the 374th Airlift Wing. The final J-model is slated for delivery in February 2018. “The J can take off a little heavier. It has more volume and weight,” Maj. Brian Miller, director of Yokota’s C-130J transition program, told Air Force Magazine during a visit to Yokota last year. “Before, it would take us four C-130s to move cargo to Korea. Now we can do it in three and it’s not like they reduced our footprint. It’s still a one-to-one swap. We’re just getting a more capable plane.”

See also: Closer Than Ever from the December 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine.