C-2A Greyhound

     Notes: This is the base chassis of the E-2C Hawkeye naval AWACS aircraft.  In this role, the aircraft is a cargo aircraft, the primary cargo aircraft of the US Navy and also operated by Israel, France, and Taiwan.  Only Israeli versions were capable of aerial refueling, and none had ejection seats.  There is a cargo ramp in the rear and two doors in each side behind the cockpit; the ramp may be opened in flight and was sometimes used for the deployment of SEAL and Marine Recon teams.  They are capable of navigation across trackless spaces, but are hampered by a low speed.  Their endurance is very long, with low fuel consumption.  They were also known for their easy maintenance and the large amount of time that they were available for duty.  The “Land” figures refer to operations totally from land bases, while the “Ship” figures are for if the Greyhound must take off, land, or both from a carrier.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$1,015,813

AvG

(Land) 6.8 tons, (Ship) 4.54 tons

26.08 tons

4+39 or 20 stretchers

32

Radar

Shielded

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

1132

283 (90)

NA  71  6/4  60/40

10184

3269

8778

 

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

Secure Radios, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, All-Weather Flight

500/400m Hardened Runway

None

2 Hardpoints (Drop Tanks Only)

None

 

C-17A Globemaster

     Notes: The C-17A was designed to carry large, bulk items such as the M-1 Abrams main battle tank and AH-64 Apache helicopter.  It is the only aircraft in the US inventory able to air drop large items such as the M-2 Bradley IFV or the M-8 Ridgeway AGS.  The aircraft has a rear ramp and side doors for paratroopers.  It is capable of aerial refueling, but does not have ejection seats.  It was designed to replace the C-141 in the tactical transport role. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$96,792,118

AvG

76.44 tons

265.31 tons

3+154 or 102 paratroopers

90

Radar

Enclosed

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

1600

400 (105)

NA  100  5/3  40/20

175000

72947

13716

 

Combat Equipment

                                       Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, TFR

985/2285 m Primitive Runway

None

None

None

 

C-21/C-21A

     Notes: The C-21 and C-21A are is the military version of the Learjet 25/35.  The US military uses these as VIP transports.  The C-21A has increased range, at the expense of passenger capacity.  The C-21 and C-21A do not have ejection seats and cannot be refueled in the air.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

C-21

$742,856

AvG

1.43 tons

8.24 tons

2+8

16

None

Shielded

C-21A

$742,856

AvG

1.41 tons

8.24 tons

2+7

16

None

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

C-21

1696

424 (165)

NA 106 4/2 40/20

3538

3059

13716

C-21A

1696

424 (165)

NA 106 4/2 40/20

4118

3059

13716

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

(Both)

None

900/750m Hardened Runway

None

None

None

 

Douglas C-47 Skytrain

     Notes: The origins of the C-47 go back almost a decade before World War 2, starting in 1932 with the design of the DC-1, then the DC-2, and then the DC-3 in 1935.  These were designed for the then-new civilian airlines, designed for long-range travel with a relatively small passenger and cargo load. When US involvement in World War 2 began in earnest, the US military suddenly found themselves with a dearth of cargo aircraft, and basically asked any company who could supply cargo aircraft to dramatically increase their production.  Douglas was the most capable of filling this role, having already a large production line for their DC-3.  The US military pretty much sucked up all unsold DC-2s and DC-3s, making some modifications on most of them to increase their utility as military cargo aircraft.  (The DC-2/R2D/C-33 will be handled in a separate entry.)  C-47s were built by several countries, with and without a license, and the last new aircraft of the basic C-47 line is believed to have been built in 1962.  The C-47 has also been the subject of numerous modifications and experiments, including the famous AC-47 gunship modifications first done during the Vietnam War, and several variants with more powerful engines, turboprop engines, or somewhat different dimensions, cargo capacities, and fuel capacities.  The US Navy also used C-47s, designated as the R4D.  Generals Eisenhower, Patton, and MacArthur all acknowledged the C-47 as one of the most important weapons of World War 2.

     Note that this entry does not deal with the civilian version, the DC-3, though the C-47 was developed from the DC-3.

     Some 2000 C-47s and DC-3 are still in service today; most are still being used as cargo aircraft, some by Third-World air forces, but mostly by private individuals in various places; another common use for the C-47/DC-3 today is as a drop aircraft for civilian skydivers. These original C-47s (and DC-3s) still fly on, in various states of repair. 

 

The Initial C-47s: C-47, C-47A, C-47B

     The C-47 began limited use in 1941, which turned into full, if not massive, production in 1942.  The US, whether in Army service as the C-47 or the R4D in its Navy guise, called it the Skytrain.  The British, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders called it the Dakota.  Many aircrews and other troops, particularly US troops, called it the Goony Bird.  However, it was the Dakota name that had the longest lifespan; examples still being used in Africa and other out-of-the-way places generally refer to the DC-3/C-47 as the Dakota.  The C-47 is legendary for it’s capability to absorb damage and keep flying; this is in part due to the over half a million rivets used in the construction of its airframe.  A C-47 crashed during World War 2 on a glacier in Iceland and was abandoned; months later, it reappeared further down the glacier, was brought to Reykjavik, and found to still be in flyable condition.  Also in World War 2, a C-47 was rammed by a Japanese fighter; the Japanese fighter crashed several thousand feet below, while the C-47, minus part of its wing, was able to fly home.  (The crew received credit for a Japanese kill and was allowed to display a kill marking on their aircraft.)

     The first C-47s were delivered in late 1941.  For the most part, the airframe remained unchanged.  The most visible change from the exterior was a large double cargo door on the left rear side of rear fuselage; this double door has a smaller passenger door was set into right cargo door, with folding steps on the passenger door.  The span of each wing was increased by 15 centimeters, which gave the C-47 better handling, but the primary reason the wingspan increase was to allow the fitting of larger wing fuel tanks.  The floor of the interior was reinforced to allow the carriage of heavier cargoes.  The floor was also fitted with pulleys, lock-down points, and tie-down points. Behind the cockpit, a navigator’s position was added, complete with a low navigation astrodome.  The interior could carry bulk cargo, 28 fully-equipped troops or paratroopers, or up to 18 stretchers and six medics, nurses, or doctors.  In addition, three hardpoints under each wing could be loaded with airdrop supply containers.  The last change was the replacement of the DC-3’s engines with supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasps developing 1200 horsepower each.  Some 935 of these initial C-47s were built.

     Demand for the C-47 was so high that Douglas put up another, larger production line for the C-47 in Tulsa, and another in Long Beach.  However, at the same time, the electrical system was uprated, and the designation was changed to “C-47A.”  For game purposes, however, the C-47 and C-47A are identical. Some 4931 C-47As were built between Tulsa and Long Beach.

     With operations in Asia becoming more important, with that the necessity of flying over the Himalayas to supply China from India and Burma, the C-47B was designed.  These had uprated versions of the C-47A’s engines, either Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 or R-1830-90Bs; engine power was identical, but the C-47B’s engines had two-stage superchargers to give them more power at high altitude.  They also generally carried extra fuel in their cargo bay (at the expense of cargo capacity), though this could be removed. The C-47B carried powerful cabin heaters to protect the crew despite the altitude at which they flew. About 3108 C-47Bs were built.  Note that the C-47B was essentially a special model, designed specifically for flying “The Hump” from India and Burma to China.

     Some special versions of the C-47 were built.  217 examples, known as the C-53A Skytrooper, were built; these had no double cargo doors, instead having a single wide passenger door which was also the jump door.  The seats were simple metal seats, and the aircraft had an attachment point for a glider tow rope. The C-53B was a winterized version of the C-53B; eight were built, and they had full heating for the cockpit and cabin, as well as extra fuel capacity in the form of a fuel tank in the cargo cabin, which took up some of the aircraft’s cargo capacity and room for troops.  The C-53B also had a separate navigator’s station, and for that reason had a larger cockpit.  Seventeen versions, designated the C-53C, were built; this version was simply a C-53A which had a door about 150% the size of a standard door.  The C-53D is simply a C-53C with an improved electrical system; 159 were built.  In 1962, these aircraft were redesignated C-117A, B, or C.  One C-117C was converted to a SARBird configuration and was designated the SC-117A.  Several C-53Bs had their high-altitude superchargers removed; these were designated C-117B.  Some retained their high-altitude superchargers, and were designated C-117D.  Three were converted for use in the Antarctic; these were similar to other such C-47s.  They were until 1962 designated R4D-8L, when they were redesignated LC-117D.  The Naval training version, used for navigational and ASW training, was at first designated R4D-8T, then redesignated TC-117D.

     A single prototype of a winterized version designed to land on show and ice was built, the XC-47A.  This was followed by eight winterized C-53Bs (no special designation); these had the same features as the XC-47A except for increased fuel capability (at the expense of cargo space and carrying capacity).

     In addition, several VIP transport versions of the C-47A and C-47B were built.  These aircraft, designated VC-47A and VC-47B, had many of their conventional passenger aircraft features restored, and had equipment to cook meals, heat tea and coffee, special cargo storage, and in some cases, small sleeper compartments.  Though 131 were ordered, only one VC-47A and sixteen VC-47Bs were actually built and delivered.  Later, more were built, but they have always been few in number; these later versions were based on the C-53A and C-53B Skytrooper.  The ones owned by the Navy were at first designated R4D-8; later, both the Air Force and Navy redesignated theirs to C-117A. Though the standard C-117As were fitted out as VIP transports, three of them had even more lavish appointments and were designated VC-117A.  A few C-117Bs were converted to the VC-117A standard, and designated VC-117B.  Another version, based on the C-53C and called by the Navy the R4D-8Z, was later redesignated the VC-117D; for game purposes, it is identical to the VC-117B except for its service ceiling.

     The SC-47 (designated HC-47 after 1962) was a SAR variant of the C-47A, which served well into the Vietnam War in US service.  The SC-47 was fitted with two heavy and four light hardpoints under each wing; the heavy hardpoints were also wet hardpoints and could mount fuel tanks or heavy droppable rescue assistance gear, such as large inflatable life rafts or bulk survival gear.  The SC-47 was fitted with a searchlight under the fuselage, and had dispensers for flares.

     Though the AC-47 we all know and love is the Spooky gunship, the first version of the C-47 (actually, C-47A) to be designated the AC-47 was an electronic warfare version that entered service in 1953.  It was so designated until 1962, when it was redesignated the RC-47, then a few months later, the EC-47N.  This version was used to monitor radio and radar frequencies, primarily those known to be in use by Soviet and Chinese equipment of the time, (i.e., depending on the time period, frequencies used at a given time between about 1950 and 1975) and in addition could offer limited tactical support through the use of flare dispensers and a searchlight under the fuselage. EC-47Ns also carried cameras in the belly for photographic reconnaissance of targets which were being jammed, as well as targets that resisted jamming partially or completely.  These cameras were slaved to special ELINT gear which identified and measured the radar and radio emanations from targets, both those being jammed and those which resisted jamming. Other electronic gear included a short radome in the nose which carries a weather radar system, Up to six wire antennas for detection of Y-Band and Q-Band radios and radar, eight whip antennas for X-Band equipment, a trailing antenna which was extended after takeoff for detection of Z-Band equipment, antennas below the nose for a marker beacon and the TACAN system, a VOR antenna above the crew cabin, a radio and radar detection and direction-finding antenna below and behind the wing center, another antenna was mounted above the crew cabin for a UHF radio. Inside the crew cabin were large consoles for the electronic warfare specialists to ply their trade, while two radiomen were seated near the cockpit.  Other parts of the cabin were crammed with anything from flare droppers to personal equipment. As the EC-47N, this version served through most of the Vietnam War.  The AC/RC/EC-47N can be distinguished by its plethora of antennas, some of which deploy after takeoff due to their size.  An extra internal fuel tank completed the fit. A common nickname for this aircraft is the “Electric Gooney.”  EC-47Ns based on the C-47A were largely replaced by later versions by the early 1960s.

     The US Navy essentially used the same aircraft, for the most part with the same design features.  Navy C-47s were designated the R4D-1, C-47As were designated the R4D-5 (later redesignated the C-47H after 1962), C-47Bs were designated the R4D-6 (later redesignated the C-47J), and C-53s were designated the R4D-3.  The Navy also used a small number of DC-3s that were impressed into military service and little-modified from their DC-3 form, designating those R4D-2s. These aircraft generally filled the same role in the Navy as the VC-47A/B.

Some specialist versions were also employed, most based on the C-47A (R4D-5).  This includes the R4D-5L (later redesignated the LC-47H); this had removable skis, special wheel brakes, and slates which could be raised above and below the wing for additional braking power.  The R4D-5Q (redesignated in 1962 the EC-47Q) served as a trainer for ECM crews; the “equipment” was mostly for training purposes and had little or no actual functionality.  The R4D-5R (redesignated the TC-47H) was a trainer for cargo pilot crews, most notably for prospective C-2A Greyhound crews; it is essentially the same as a C-47A, but with extra seating behind the crew positions for six students.  It can otherwise be used as a troop or cargo carrier.

     133 TC-47Bs were produced; these were essentially standard C-47Bs with additional tables and other equipment and special layouts to fit them for their role as navigational trainers for cargo aircraft and bomber crews.  For Twilight 2000 purposes, the TC-133 is a C-47B with an unusual cockpit layout.

     Though “Dakota” is now used as a general designation in many places of the world, its origin began with the British designation of the C-47 as the Dakota; the British received large amounts of C-47s under the Lend-Lease Program.  The Dakota I was the RAF designation for the C-47 and R4D-1; the Dakota III was the designation for the C-47A, and the Dakota IV was the RAF designation for the C-47B. The RAF did not use the later iterations of the C-47.  The Canadians also used the C-47, C-47A, and C-47B; they also used the Dakota I/II/II designation, until 1970, when the designations were changed to CC-129, CC-129A, and CC-129B respectively.

     Perhaps the strangest experiment for the C-47, undertaken using a C-47-DL (a minor variant of the C-47), was undertaken in 1944.  The new, more powerful C-54 was becoming available in increasing numbers, and it was thought that a new glider should be designed to take advantage of the C-54’s power.  The XCG-17 was therefore designed in 1944; this was a modified C-47, with the engines removed and replaced with aerodynamic nacelles (and the rest of the housing containing weights to compensate for the removal of the engines and help remain the aircraft’s stability in flight).  Virtually all of the wiring and bulkheads were removed, as was the navigator and radio operator’s positions.  Though the conversion proved to be mostly satisfactory, the XCG-17 was not capable of landing safely on surfaces like open fields and other places an assault glider might have to land.  In addition, World War 2 was coming to a close, and by 1946 the Army was transitioning rapidly to the use of all-airborne forces and the deletion of gliderborne forces.  The XCG-17 was capable of carrying 6.8 tons of bulk cargo, 40 fully-equipped troops, three jeeps in a single load, or two 105mm field howitzers plus a reduced load of ammunition.  The single XCG-17 was converted back to a C-47 and later received several upgrades in its Army and Air Force career.  The aircraft was sold to Mexico in 1959, where it served until 1980.

     Various C-47s, C-47As, and C-47B were given a number of minor modifications, and were designated C-41A, C-48, C-49, C-50, C-51, C-52, and C-82.  The C-41A could just as easily referred to as the VC-41A (though I stress it was NOT), as it was simply a DC-3A with its engines replaced by the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-21 1200-horsepower radials.  Only one was built, and was used by the Chief of Staff or the Army Air Corps.  The C-42 was also equipped for use by a VIP (in this case, the Commanding General of the Air Force GHQ after World War 2).  Again, only one was built, and is essentially the same as C-41A, but it retained the civilian-standard 1000-horsepower Wright R-1820-21 radials. The C-48 refers to DC-3As rebuilt into military cargo standard. The C-49 was the designation given over to 138 DC-3 taken over from the airlines and rebuilt into military cargo standard; these also had the 1000-horswepower civilian-standard engines.  The C-50s are the same as the C-49s, but never reached airline service before they were appropriated into military service.  The C-52 is sort of a “pre-Skytrooper,” as noted above.  As such, these six aircraft were taken over by the Army Air Corps straight off the DC-3 production line and fitted out as paratrooper aircraft.  The C-52 did, however, have a large double door, did not have a reinforced floor, and have the navigator’s astrodome that was deleted on the C-53.  The C-82 was a postwar development of the DC-3B, essentially turning it into a C-47B.

 

Later versions: the C-47D and its iterations – the chameleon of Skytrains

     A large number of C-47Bs, starting during World War 2 but mostly after that war, has their two-stage high-altitude superchargers removed, essentially giving them performance equal to the C-47A, but with many of the non-engine improvements of the C-47B, including the capability to carry an extra internal fuel tank, the powerful cabin heaters, and various wiring and hydraulic improvements.  Again, for game purposes, the C-47D is identical to the C-47A.

     The C-47Ds claim to fame is the large number of variants into which it was modified.  Some of the less drastic variants include the VIP transport, the VC-47D, which is essentially the same as the VC-47A and B in its internal arrangements and otherwise the same as the the VC-47A in game terms.  A SARBird version, first designated the SC-47D and later the HC-47D, was also put into service; this is the same as the SC/HC-47A above in game terms, and it too served well into the Vietnam War.

     Unlike the RC-47 above, the RC-47D was more a straightforward photo reconnaissance platform, though it also had some ELINT capability in the form of detecting radios and radar.  The RC-47D’s forte was the photographing of heavy jungle; it’s slow speed meant that it could catch details faster aircraft could not, and also allowed the RC-47D to photograph targets that could be seen by the aircrew.  Photography was aided by the mounting of a spotlight in the belly, and a plethora of flare dispensers.  Some were also used in operations above the Ho Chi Minh trail, where they would drop motion and sound detectors (ideally, just off the Trail).

     The EC-47P was the electronic warfare version of the C-47D.  As was the EC-47N, the EC-47P was often called the “Electric Gooney.”  The ELINT equipment was basically the same as on the EC-47N, and it carried the same flare dispensers and searchlight under the fuselage, as well as the same camera setup.  The EC-47Q is the same aircraft, but was re-engined with a pair of 1290-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-2000-4 engines.

     The C-47E has a rearranged interior which allows for more passengers or larger cargoes.  (It does not actually increase the weight of cargo the C-47E can carry.)  For game purposes, it is the same as a C-47A, but has a Crew rating of 3+32 or 24 paratroopers.

     The C-47L and M were designed as VIP aircraft for the American Legate US Navy Attaché and the Military Assistance Advisory group; for game purposes, they are the same as the VC-117A.  The C-47R was a singular version designed for high-altitude VIP transport at the request of Ecuador; the C-47R has the twin superchargers added back in to allow it to accomplish its role as a VIP aircraft who could fly over the Andes.  For game purposes, the C-47R is the same as the VC-117B.

     The AC-47D Spooky Gunship, arguably the most famous version of the C-47, will be handled in US Special Aircraft.

 

Modernized and Post-War Skytrains

     Not long after the Skytrain and DC-3 went out of mainline service and many of their number became available on the civilian market, various companies and individuals began modifications and modernizations, big and small.  These ranged from simple rewiring to more modern standards and improved hydraulic systems to more drastic updates such as lengthening, rendering the cargo deck much more conducive to loading and unloading, and re-engining, including with turboprops and trimotor versions.

     One of these is Basler Turbo Conversions’ BT-67.  BTC begins with an overhaul of the C-47 or DC-3, restoring the aircraft to nearly an “As New” condition. This version is stretched by over a meter forward of the wing, and the cockpit bulkhead is moved ahead 1.5 meters to further increase cargo space and also counteract the unbalancing caused by the stretching of the fuselage.  The BT-67 therefore has 35% more interior space and 43% more useful load.  The outer leading edge and wingtip are modified to improve low-speed handling, provide some anti-stall characteristics.  The wings are furthermore greatly-strengthened to give the BT-67 improved lifting capacity as well as to support the weight of larger fuel tanks.  The BT-67 is completely rewired, and de-icing equipment was added for the windshield as well as the leading edge of the wings and the leading edge of the propellers.  Part of the instrument panel even uses glass-cockpit-type instruments. Both the cockpit and the cargo space are heated, partially by heat bled off the engines. The cockpit is also given an overhaul in the controls and instruments, making them more understandable, accounting for new equipment, and with the BT-67 providing a hydraulic boost for the controls. Modern navigation equipment and radios are fitted, including GPS. The engines are replaced by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67R turboprops with a rating of 1424 horsepower each and offering more acceleration and lifting power.  The propeller is replaced by a 5-bladed propeller with aluminum blades made by Hartzell.  The BT-67 can be outfitted for cargo operations, military operations, or conventional passenger operations.  The BT-67 uses a large double door with a smaller door within the right door for loading. The BT-67 is designed to function optimally even in Arctic conditions, and can even be fitted with skis for landing on ice or snow.  The US military was once seriously considering taking the BT-67 into service, going as far as assigning the designation “C-47T” to the aircraft.  Basler is willing to outfit an individual BT-67 to many different specifications; a few are noted below.  

     After World War 2, Douglas Aircraft hoped to produce and sell more C-47s to the military, as well as more civilian DC-3s to the airlines.  To this end, they produced two prototypes of the “Super DC-3,” also known as the “DC-3S.”  These prototypes were modifications of C-47Ds, with fully retractable landing gear, flush rivets, aerodynamic antennas, a longer fuselage, a taller tail, and squared-off wingtips.  The radio operator’s position had become unnecessary due to better technology and was eliminated. The wings were redesigned; they became a bit longer and had some sweep in them to accommodate a change in the center of gravity caused by the lengthening of the fuselage and rearrangement of the interior.  In addition, the Super DC-3 had larger flaps, allowing for a lower stall speed and better takeoff and landing performance. The first prototype used Wright R-1820-C9HE Cyclone radials with an output of 1475 horsepower each, while the second prototype used Pratt & Whitney R-2000-D7 engines with an output of 1380 horsepower each; for the rest of production, the Cyclones were used. So much of the Super DC-3 was new that Douglas claimed the Super DC-3 was 75% new.  The big problem with the Super DC-3 was its altitude restriction; the cabin was unpressurized, meaning that the carriage of certain cargoes or people kept the Super DC-3 from flying as high as the aircraft was capable of flying. The civilian airlines largely passed on the Super DC-3, and Douglas managed to sell only three of them to the airlines.  The Air Force got the first prototype in 1949, but they passed on it and the Navy, who were more impressed with the aircraft, and bought 100 of them.  These were designated at first “R4D-8,” but the designation was later changed to “C-117D.”  Sometime later, these were again redesignated “C-47F.”

     Conroy Aircraft attempted to get interested going in their versions of the C-47/DC-3, which were called the Turbo Three and the Tri-Turbo-Three.  The first, the Turbo Three, was often called the Super Turbo Three since it was converted from a pair of Super DC-3s.  They used surplus Vickers Viscount engines, which were 1800-horsepower turboprops.  This led to an increase in speed and some increase in lifting power, but also to a large increase in fuel consumption, and it is probably because of the fuel consumption along with the generally outdated design of the C-47 that meant there were no takers for the design.  In addition, the propeller radius was small due to the retention of the original Viscount propellers, air flow was restricted by the retention of the original C-47-type nacelles, and the landing gear fairings partially restricted the exhaust.  This led to long takeoff and landing run, and the expected increases in performance were not what was hoped for.  The first Turbo Three was dismantled and the parts sold, while the second Turbo Three ended up parked at the Groton-New London airport.  In 1984, it’s cockpit was hit by the wing of a C-130 and largely torn off, and never replaced or repaired.

     The Conroy Tri-Turbo-Three was an even more ambitious project: it turned the C-47/DC-3 into a trimotor aircraft, with three Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A engines each developing 1940 horsepower.  Two of the engines were in the usual place, while the third engine was in a greatly-extended nose section.  This increased the top speed, but the increased weight again did not deliver the hoped-for increase in performance, and increasing fuel consumption as well.  However, the nose engine could be turned off in flight to increase cruising range.  Despite the potential drawbacks, Polair and the Canadian/American Maritime Patrol and Rescue service each ordered one.  Polair modified theirs with skis to allow takeoffs and landings on snow and ice, as well as improved brakes and slats on the bottoms of the wings and atop the wings to help slow the aircraft.  Polair’s first Tri-Turbo-Three was accidentally destroyed by maintenance technicians on the ground at Santa Barbara Municipal airport in May 1986; Conroy built them a new Tri-Turbo-Three, which is still functioning today.  The Tri-Turbo-Three operated by the Maritime Patrol and Rescue service was replaced by a model of the C-130.  Both the Turbo Three and the Tri-Turbo-Three were capable of great speed and lifting power, but their engines gulped a lot of fuel.

 

Not Made Here: The Lisunov Li-2

     Both the Japanese and Russians had licenses to produce C-47s/DC-3s.  The Russians got their license during the War, while the Japanese got theirs in 1938, promising that the aircraft were not to be used by the military (honest, Mr Douglas, airlines only!).

     The Soviets manufactured almost 3000 C-47/DC-3s under license.  Though the Russians took considerable effort not to change the design of the aircraft, several tweaks did in fact creep in.  The wings had a slightly smaller span, provisions were made for the attachment of skis (for some Siberian operations), the Li-2 received structural reinforcement in the wing roots, lower section of the fuselage, some window rearrangements, and the main passenger door was placed on the right of the fuselage, across from the cargo doors.  Perhaps the greatest change was in the engines; the Russians chose an engine they were experienced with, the Shvetsov Ash-62 radial; this unfortunately developed only 1000 horsepower, and the Li-2’s performance lagged behind Western C-47s/DC-3s.  To make matters worse, the Li-2 had a slightly smaller wingspan, which impacted maneuverability; they had attachments and hardpoints designed specifically to allow ski landing gear to be attached, slightly increasing weight; and they were structurally reinforced and had thicker skin on the belly and around the cockpit – this gave the Li-2 the ability to carry slightly heavier loads (though the space inside was unchanged) and increased the survivability of the Li-2, but also did a good job of increasing the Li-2’s weight.  Some other changes included some rearrangement of the windows and the main passenger door being moved from the left to the right (the cargo door remained on the left).

     Several versions of the Li-2 were built.  The Li-2P is a basic passenger model, equivalent to the DC-3 (and will not be detailed here); the Li-2G is a basic cargo hauler, with a reinforced floor and tie-downs, and large double doors on the left for the loading of cargo.  The Li-2P could be readily changed from its basic passenger version into a cargo hauler.

     The Li-2T is a fully militarized version.  In a dorsal turret was a ShKAS or UBT machinegun, and on either side of the aircraft a ShKAS machinegun could be mounted on either side of the aircraft firing out of windows.  Any of these positions could be removed or use passengers to man them.  Under the fuselage, racks could be fitted; a typical load was four 250-kg bombs centerline and six 82mm rockets under each outer wing.  The Li-2T did not have the attachment for skis. The Li-2D was also a military version; it was optimized for delivering paratroopers, and was also equipped with a glider tow hook, but the dorsal turret opening has doors to cover the opening to allow more paratroopers (or regular troopers) to be carried.  Late versions of the Li-2D had a glazed front left crew door with a bulged window to allow the deputy jumpmaster to observe the paratroopers as they left the Li-2 and started to fall.  A long range version, the Li-2DB, was for use in special operations and had long-range fuel tanks which took up part of the cargo bay.  The Li-2R, used by both the military and civilians, was a survey version; it was essentially a reconnaissance aircraft, with a battery of cameras in the belly, a flare dropper, and a spotlight.  The Li-2V was a postwar version, equipped with superchargers for the engines and used at high altitudes and in the Arctic.

     Perhaps the most extreme variant of the Li-2 was the Li-2VV – an Li-2D converted into a bomber.  For the most part, the Li-2VV was used as a night bomber and few such conversions were built.  Those that were built had a decent wartime record, but were not known for their bomb-carrying capacity. The Li-2VV retained the dorsal turret and waist guns, with the bombs being mounted on the wings and under the fuselage.  Though up to 1500 kilograms of bombs could be carried under the wings and fuselage, in practice the Li-2VV carried only 1000 kilograms to increase range.  A small amount of 50-kilogram bombs were also carried in the fuselage.  The Li-2VV bombardier was equipped with a rather poor bomb sight and the Li-2VV was not known for its accuracy; accuracy with the bombs in the bomb bay was even worse than with the wing and fuselage bombs.  The Li-2VV could be easily distinguished by its glazed nose, which also longer than on a standard Li-2.  Accuracy improved on the Li-2NB, an Li-2VV with an improved bomb sight and with a window that allowed the bombardier to look straight down and also slightly to the rear.  In both cases, the aircraft could carry a small amount of cargo; often, this cargo space was used for anything from mortar shells and grenades to chunks of scrap iron and things like old wheels or roadwheels from destroyed vehicles – the cargo door and passenger door remained, and the waist gunners and the radio operator would often throw them out of the doors when passing over a target, to cause more damage.

     For the most part, information on the Soviet/Russian version of the C-47 is a bit sketchy, particularly what happed to the Li-2 after World War 2.  Their career is believed to have stretched into the late 1950s, and it is possible that client states received some Li-2s and used them even later.  NATO knew of Soviet use of the Li-2 after World War 2 and assigned the aircraft the reporting name of “Cab.”

 

Also Made Elsewhere, Perhaps Under Shady Circumstances: The Showa L2D

     Just before World War 2 in 1938, Douglas sold several DC-3s to Japan for evaluation, and were built by Showa and Nakajima.  Mitsui, the design and retroengineering company, went on to buy a license from Douglas, and obtained all the specifications from Douglas along with two unassembled DC-3s. Of course, aster the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Douglas terminated their contract with the Japanese; by then, however, the Japanese had the full specifications for the DC-3, which they called the L2D series.

     The first 71 of this series were simple DC-3 clones, with one exception – including the original 1000-horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines of the original DC-3A instead of the uprated engines of the US military versions.  These were essentially identical to the original DC-3A, but used Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 radials.  Nakajima built these 71 aircraft, then stopped building DC-3 clones.  These were designated L2D2.  Showa, however, continued building DC-3 clones, building the first one in 1941; they built a few L2D2s, then moved on to different and improved models.  (Being a commercial aircraft variant, the L2D2 will not be discussed here.  Maybe if in the future I do commercial aircraft…)

     The L2D2-1 was essentially the Japanese equivalent of the C-47; most of the passenger seats were removed except for four at the front and fold-down seats down the length of the cargo cabin.  The cargo floor was reinforced, and on the left side of the fuselage were double cargo doors.  The L2D3 was essentially the same aircraft, except for its improved Kinsei 51 1300-hosepower radials.  The L2D3-1, L2D3a, and L2D3-1a were essentially the same, except for the electrical system, in some cases the cockpit instrument layout, and differences in the window layout.  The L2D3-1a could also airdrop supplies.

     The L2D4 was an armed VIP variant, essentially an armed DC-3A with less seats, and extra radios.  Another version, the L2D4-1, was an armed cargo carrier. Atop the aircraft (not in a turret) was a 13mm Type 93 machinegun; through side windows on either side of aircraft, Type 98 8mm machineguns were mounted (copies of the MG-15).  The L2D5 was the same aircraft, but by this stage of the war, as many “non-strategic” metals were used in production (wood and remilled scrap steel), and the engines were replaced by 1560-horsepower Kinsei 62 radials.  (It is speculative, but these engines may have been too hot for the aircraft.)  The L2D5s were produced only as prototypes, and production did not begin before the Surrender of Japan; if they had entered production, pilots and plane captains would have discovered that, due to the increased weight of the L2D5’s use of less-than-optimum materials and the engines themselves, the performance increase would not have been as great as one might think.

     Showa built 416 or these aircraft, in addition to the 71 built by Nakijima. Allied pilots called them the “Tabby.”

     Twilight 2000 Notes:  At the beginning of the Twilight War, it is estimated that there were about 2000 flying examples of this aircraft.  Most are DC-3s and C-47 variants, and most of the C-47 variants are cargo hauler types.  Most specialist versions have long been out of service; though some may be found at the Boneyard in Arizona, the specialist Skytrains are as rare as hen’s teeth, and specialist versions with functioning special equipment are rarer still.  These C-47 variants and DC-3s are most common in the US, Canada, and Africa.  In the US and Canada, virtually all of them were in the hands of civilians, most commonly being restored and flown for exhibition at air shows.  A few were flown by the Confederate Air Force in the US.  Perhaps 50 of these aircraft were used by civilians for skydiving.  Some 500 were actually “working” aircraft, hauling cargo to remote areas (especially in Africa and other out-of-the-way places).

   Some 40 Basler BT-67s were available at the start of the Twilight War; most were outfitted for use by various research organizations.

   The status of Li-2 variants, even during the Cold War and beyond, was always the subject of debate.  It is believed, however, that few Li-2s are in flying condition; as more and more were simply parked in the grass at airfields of open fields, and the survivors increasingly stripped for parts to keep Li-2s in better condition flying.  Nonetheless, the arrival of more advanced aircraft (especially Soviet-built aircraft) gradually consigned the Li-2s to air shows, and later trailing targets for ground gunners or equipped with remote controls and used as target drones.  By 1960, the Soviets stated that there were no Li-2s in active service.

     Almost all Showa L2Ds were destroyed by the US military occupation forces in Japan after World War 2, though some of them in better shape were upgraded and used by US forces and later (for a short time) Japanese forces.  They were retired from service by 1955; I have not been able to find out if Japan has any L2D variants in flying condition.

     The Twilight War saw the use of C-47 and DC-3 variants by guerilla forces, irregular forces, partisans, and even emergency use by regular military troops.  Many have, in fact, been pressed into military use by US and Canadian forces, and even the Mexican forces use three of them.  The BT-67s were based in various places in the world, basically in range of wherever the research project was.  Most of them were impressed into service by the countries that they happened to be in between 1996 and late 1997.  It turned out that one flyable Showa L2D4-1 was present in Japan.  Twelve Lisunov Li-2s were operational at the start of the Twilight War; half of these were Li-2Gs, and another quarter were Li-2Ps.  However there was also a flyable Li-2T, an Li-2DB, and an Li-2NB.  Most of these were kept in the rear supplying cargo which would be taken to the front.  The Li-2T, Li-2DB, and Li-2NB were used closer to the front, with the Li-2NB used in actual bombing missions.  Most of these surviving Li-2s got shot down fairly quickly; by 2000, only four Li-2s were still flyable; for some reason, the sole Li-2NB survived all of its combat missions.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew 

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

C-47/C-47A/C-47D/C-53A/C-53C

$31,362

AvG

4.1 tons

7.7 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

8

None

Enclosed

C-47B

$32,583

             AvG               

4 tons

8.1 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

10

None

Enclosed

C-53B

$33,291

AvG

3.1 tons

8.2 tons

3+21 or 15 paratroopers

8

None

Enclosed

SC-47A/SC-117A/HC-47D

$130,148

AvG

3.6 tons

8.7 tons

5

11

Searchlight

Enclosed

XC-47A

$35,025

AvG

3.81 kg

8.86 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

9

None

Enclosed

C-53B (Winterized)

$38,570

AvG

2.81 tons

8.7 tons

3+21 or 15 paratroopers

9

None

Enclosed

EC-47N/P

$2,427,986

AvG

1.48 tons

8.84 tons

11

13

Searchlight, Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

VC-47A

$43,570

AvG

1.75 tons

8.3 tons

3+14

10

None

Enclosed

VC-47B

$45,791

AvG

1.75 tons

8.3 tons

3+14

12

None

Enclosed

VC-117A/C/C-47L/C-47M

$47,734

AvG

1.73 tons

8.35 tons

3+14

11

None

Enclosed

VC-117B/C-47R

$49,955

AvG

1.73 tons

8.35 tons

3+14

13

None

Enclosed

XCG-17

$13,806

N/A

6.8 tons

5 tons

2+40

2

None

Enclosed

RC-47D

$569,957

AvG

1.55 tons

8.7 tons

6

10

Searchlight, Radar (20 km)

Enclosed

EC-47Q

$2,428,353

AvG

1.5 tons

8.84 tons

11

13

Searchlight, Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

BT-67 (Standard)

$475,977

JP4/5/6

4.63 tons

8.44 tons

3+32 or 23 paratroopers

11

Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

BT-67 (Cargo/Passenger)

$517,686

JP4/5/6

3.1 tons

8.57 tons

3+10

12

Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

BT-67 (Arctic Fit-Out, Standard)

$479,640

JP4/5/6

4.47 tons

8.77 tons

3+32 or 23 paratroopers

12

Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

BT-67 (Arctic Fit-Out, Cargo/Passenger)

$520,019

JP4/5/6

3 tons

8.97 tons

3+10

13

Radar (30 km)

Enclosed

Super DC-3

$55,642

AvG

4.7 tons

8.86 tons

2+30

8

None

Enclosed

Turbo Three

$43,628

JP4/5/6

5.13 tons

8.43 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

9

None

Enclosed

Tri-Turbo-Three

$54,676

JP4/5/6

6.41 tons

8.8 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

10

None

Enclosed

Li-2G

$37,649

AvG

4.3 tons

7.9 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

8

None

Enclosed

Li-2T

$165,590

AvG

3.3 tons

8.9 tons

6+22 or 15 paratroopers

10

None

Enclosed

Li-2D

$166,574

AvG

3.3 tons

8.9 tons

6+28 or 20 paratroopers

10

None

Enclosed

Li-2DB

$177,473

AvG

2.1 tons

9.2 tons

6+14 or 10 paratroopers

10

None

Enclosed

Li-2R

$123,730

AvG

1.8 tons

8.58 tons

8

12

Searchlight

Enclosed

Li-2V

$38,870

AvG

4.2 tons

8.3 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

10

None

Enclosed

Li-2VV

$241,777

AvG

1.26 tons

9.68 tons

6

11

None

Enclosed

Li-2NB

$250,857

AvG

1.26 tons

9.68 tons

6

11

None

Enclosed

L2D2-1

$28,902

AvG

4.1 tons

7.45 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

8

None

Enclosed

L2D3

$31,362

AvG

4.34 tons

7.83 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

8

None

Enclosed

L2D3-1a

$32,686

AvG

4.34 tons

7.83 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

8

None

Enclosed

L2D4

$76,343

AvG

2 tons

8.1 tons

3+14

11

None

Enclosed

L2D4-1

$62,394

AvG

4.14 tons

8.03 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

9

None

Enclosed

L2D5

$67,150

AvG

4.28 tons

8.82 tons

3+28 or 20 paratroopers

9

None

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

C-47/C-47A/C-47D/C-53A/C-53B/C-63C

573

146 (41)

NA  36  5/3  40/30

1500

696

7070

C-47B

551

138 (41)

NA  36  5/3  40/30

1500

792

8230

C-53B

544

136 (41)

NA  36  5/3  30/30

1600

719

7070

SC-47A/SC-117A/HC-47D

522

136 (41)

NA  34  5/3  40/30

1700

742

7070

XC-47A

538

135 (40)

NA  32  5/3  40/30

1500

721

7070

C-53B (Winterized)

544

136 (41)

NA  32  5/3  40/30

1600

742

7070

EC-47N/P

539

135 (41)

NA  34  5/3  40/30

1600

748

7070

VC-47A

555

207 (41)

NA  35  5/3  40/30

1500

723

7070

VC-47B

555

139 (41)

NA  35  5/3  40/30

1500

723

8230

VC-117A/C/C-47L/C-47M

554

139 (41)

NA  34  5/3  40/30

1500

725

7070

VC-117B/C-47R

554

139 (41)

NA  34  5/3  40/30

1500

725

8230

XCG-17

**

** (34)

NA  None  5/3  40/30

None

None

7070

RC-47D

543

136 (41)

NA  34  5/3  40/30

1500

742

7070

EC-47Q

547

137 (41)

NA  34  5/3  40/30

1500

776

7070

BT-67 (Standard)

630

157 (37)

NA  39  5/3  40/30

3028

1564

5791

BT-67 (Cargo/Passenger)

625

156 (37)

NA  39  5/3  40/30

3028

1576

5791

BT-67 (Arctic Fit-Out, Standard)

617

155 (37)

NA  38  5/3  40/30

3028

1594

5791

BT-67 (Arctic Fit-Out, Cargo/Passenger)

611

153 (37)

NA  38  5/3  40/30

3028

1613

5791

Super DC-3

599

150 (34)

NA  37  5/3  40/25

1700

761

9144****

Turbo Three

669

168 (41)

NA  42  5/3  40/30

1700

1991

9000

Tri-Turbo-Three

782

196 (41)

NA  49  5/3  40/30

1700

3004

9000

Li-2G

459

115 (42)

NA  29  5/3  40/35

1500

590

7000

Li-2T

412

103 (44)

NA  26  5/3  40/35

1500

627

7000

Li-2D

412

103 (44)

NA  26  5/3  40/35

1500

627

7000

Li-2DB

400

100 (44)

NA  25  5/3  40/35

1700

636

7000

Li-2R

423

106 (42)

NA  27  5/3  40/35

1700

615

7000

Li-2V

440

110 (42)

NA  28  5/3  40/35

1700

605

8160

Li-2VV/Li-2NB

378

95 (44)

NA  24  5/3  40/35

1700

656

7000

L2D2-1

488

122 (41)

NA  30  5/3  40/30

1500

590

7000

L2D3/L2D3-1a

600

150 (41)

NA  37  5/3  40/30

1500

770

8000

L2D4

580

145 (41)

NA  36  5/3  40/30

1500

783

8000

L2D4-1

575

144 (41)

NA  36  5/3  40/30

1500

786

8000

L2D5

639

160 (41)

NA  39  5/3  40/30

1500

926

7500

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

Most C-47 Variants

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

3 Hardpoints (Non-Weapon Only; 3xWet)

None

SC-47A/SC-117A/HC-47D

32xFlares

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

4 Light Hardpoints (600 kg max), 2 Heavy Hardpoints (1200 kg max; Wet); None May Carry Weapons

None

EC-47N/P/Q

32xFlares

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

4 Light Hardpoints (247 kg max), 2 Heavy Hardpoints (494 kg max; Wet); None May Carry Weapons

None

XC-47A/C-53B (Winterized)

None

600/500m Primitive Runway*

None

3 Hardpoints (Non-Weapon Only; 3xWet)

None

XCG-17

None

600m Primitive Runway***

None

None

None

RC-47D

40xFlares

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

4 Light Hardpoints (260 kg max), 2 Heavy Hardpoints (516 kg max; Wet); None May Carry Weapons

None

BT-67

None

400/500m Primitive Runway

None

None

None

BT-67 (Arctic Fit-Out)

None

400/500m Primitive Runway*

None

None

None

Super DC-3

None

500/400m Primitive Runway

None

3 Hardpoints (Non-Weapon Only; 3xWet)

None

Turbo Three/Tri-Turbo-Three

None

400/500m Primitive Runway

None

3 Hardpoints (Non-Weapon Only; 3xWet)

None

Li-2G

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

3 Hardpoints (Non-Weapon Only; 3xWet); 8 Hardpoints on Wings and Fuselage for Attachment of Skis

None

Li-2T

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None*****

4 Hardpoints (113 kg max), 2 Hardpoints (6x82mm Rockets only), 1 Hardpoint (No Weapons; Wet); Dorsal Turret with ShKAS; 2xWaist Guns with ShKAS

3000x7.62mm

Li-2D/Li-2DB

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None*****

4 Hardpoints (113 kg max each), 2 Hardpoints (6x82mm Rockets only); Dorsal Turret with ShKAS; 2xWaist Guns with ShKAS

3000x7.62mm

Li-2R

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

None

None

Li-2V

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

3 Hardpoints (Non-Weapon Only; 3xWet)

None

Li-2VV

6xFlares

600/500m Primitive Runway

-1******

6 Hardpoints (250 kg max), Bomb Bay (6x50 kg Bombs max); Dorsal Turret with ShKAS; 2xWaist Guns with ShKAS

3000x7.62mm

Li-2NB

12xFlares

600/500m Primitive Runway

+1******

6 Hardpoints (250 kg max), Bomb Bay (6x50 kg Bombs max); Dorsal Turret with ShKAS; 2xWaist Guns with ShKAS

3000x7.62mm

L2D

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

None

None

L2D3-1a

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

3 Hardpoints (360kg each; Wet)

None

L2D4/L2D4-1/L2D5

None

600/500m Primitive Runway

None

3 Hardpoints (360kg each; Wet); 13mm Type 93; 2x8mm Type 98

500x13mm, 2000x8mm

*Increase landing run by 50% and takeoff run by 10% when using ice as an airfield.

**The XCG-17’s starting speed will be the same as that of the aircraft which is towing it (the XCG-17 was meant to be towed by a single C-54 at a speed of approximately 230 kmh).  Once released, the XCG-17’s speed will fall by 10% each turn, assuming a safe landing profile (safe in a utility glider being a matter of terms).

***Though the XCG-17 can land safely in 600 meters on a primitive runway, it was meant to land in a space as little as 50 meters on a decently-flat surface, with the wings shearing off, the tail surfaces shearing off, and possibly worse damage occurring to the XCG-17.

****This is the maximum ceiling, but the Super DC-3 normally operated at a maximum ceiling of half that when carrying passengers, due to the unpressurized cabin.

*****The dorsal turret gunner has a simple reticle gunsight, giving him RF +1.

******The dorsal turret gunner on both aircraft has a simple reticle gunsight, giving him RF +1.  As stated above, the Li-2VV’s bombardier has a rather poor gunsight; the RF rating above worsens to -2 when using the bombs from the bomb bay.  On the Li-2NB, the RF when using the bombs in the bomb bay is +0 (i.e., no penalty or bonus).

 

C-123 Provider

     Notes: This tactical assault transport had its genesis as a design for a heavy cargo glider during World War 2.  The glider version proved to be impractical, but in 1949 engines were added to the design and it became a viable transport.  The Provider proved to be too slow in the coming era of jet aircraft, and two small jet engines (under the wings or on the wingtips) were added to enable to keep up with escorting fighters and refuel those aircraft as well as carry more cargo.  (This is the C-123K, below.)  During the Vietnam War, these aircraft were common in the skies above Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during their participation in Operation Ranch Hand, the spraying of Agent Orange.  More were used as transports to forward areas due to their ability to land on the most primitive strips and fields.  After the Provider's retirement from US service in 1979, many of the former Ranch Hand aircraft were modified by civil aviation for dumping water on forest fires, and some were operated by the CIA and civil aviation as transports. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: By 2000, the only active military users were in the Far East, Southeast Asia, and South America, except for about 10 or so that were used by the Alaska Air National Guard during the latter stages of the war.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

C-123B

$1,431,857

AvG

6.81 tons

27.22 tons

3+62 or 43 paratroopers or 30 stretchers

32

Radar

Enclosed

C-123K

$1,709,018

AvG

10.89 tons

27.22 tons

3+60 or 41 paratroops or 28 stretchers

42

Radar

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

C-123B

768

192 (75)

NA  48  5/3  50/30

6150

1607

8839

C-123K

772

193 (75)

NA  48  5/3  50/30

6150

3882

8534

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

(Both)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers

700/500m Primitive Runway

None

2 hardpoints (drop tanks only)

None

 

C-130 Hercules

     Notes: The C-130 is produced in a huge amount of variants, including cargo transport, weather reconnaissance, Antarctic transport, search and rescue, tanker, surveillance, maritime patrol, electronic warfare, command post, and bombardment (the C-130 is able to carry the 10-ton Daisy-Cutter FAE bomb).  It has a large rear ramp and paratrooper doors on both sides near the rear.  It is used throughout the world, including by the US, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Israel (these aircraft are often used to deliver commandos), Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Britain, and several countries in Africa and South America.  It is also in use by many civilian agencies. 

     The C-130A is the original “blunt nose” version.  It was superseded by the C-130B, with more powerful engines.  The C-130E was probably the most exported version.  The C-130H was probably the most produced.  The C-130J is the current US standard model.  The C-130J-30 is a stretched version, about a meter longer. 

     The MC-130 Combat Talon is basically a C-130 brought up to special operations standards.  The MC-130E Combat Talon 1 is based on the C-130E; the MC-130H Combat Talon 2 is based on the C-130J.  Improvements include a comprehensive ECM/IRCM suite with flare and chaff dispensers, an ability to navigate by GPS or inertial navigation, terrain-following radar (and the ability to conduct paving), equipment to extract skyhook-equipped ground forces, and the ability to conduct parachute and LAPES drops with greater precision and at higher speeds.  From an altitude of over 9000 meters, a Combat Talon can locate and accurately drop cargo or troops into a drop zone little larger than a football field; from lower altitudes, greater feats are possible.  Deviation during parachuting is half normal if a navigational fix is made before the jump, and such jumps may be made at 50% higher speeds.  The cockpit gauges and controls show up well when the crew is wearing night vision goggles.  The Combat Talon has a full-time electronic warfare officer to counter enemy detection attempts, and it was rumored that some Israeli and American Combat Talons carry antiradiation missiles or even Maverick missiles.  One weapon known to be used by the Combat Talons was the massive 15,000-pound “Daisy Cutter” fuel-air explosive bomb.  The Combat Talons do not have ejection seats, but are capable of aerial refueling.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

C-130A

$4,609,338

AvG

17.04 tons

56.33 tons

4+92 or 64 paratroopers

34

Radar

Enclosed

C-130B

$4,704,709

AvG

18.41 tons

61.22 tons

4+92 or 64 paratroopers

36

Radar

Enclosed

C-130E

$4,973,728

AvG

19.09 tons

69.75 tons

4+92 or 64 paratroops

38

Radar

Enclosed

C-130H

$5,200,457

AvG

19.09 tons

69.75 tons

4+92 or 64 paratroops

38

Radar

Enclosed

C-130J

$5,345,729

AvG

19.09 tons

69.75 tons

4+92 or 64 paratroops

38

Radar

Enclosed

C-130J-30

$5,389,037

AvG

19.96 tons

74.39 tons

3+128 or 92 paratroopers

39

Radar

Enclosed

MC-130E

$14,975,309

AvG

7.24 tons

69.75 tons

9+53 or 26 paratroopers

54

Radar, FLIR

Enclosed

MC-130H

$15,053,462

AvG

10.25 tons

69.75 tons

7+77 or 52 paratroops or 57 stretchers

57

Radar, FLIR

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

C-130A

1236

309 (115)

NA  77  5/3  35/20

24000

5335

12588

C-130B

1236

309 (115)

NA  77  5/3  35/20

24000

5782

12588

C-130E

1104

276 (110)

NA  69  5/3  50/30

24000

6156

5846

C-130H

1171

293 (110)

NA  73  5/3  50/30

24000

6729

7077

C-130J

1334

334 (110)

NA  83  5/3  50/30

24000

6967

8615

C-130J-30

1312

328 (115)

NA  82  5/3  50/30

24360

6967

8000

MC-130E

960

240 (100)

NA  60  5/3  50/30

24000

6629

10000

MC-130H

960

240 (100)

NA  60  5/3  50/30

24000

6946

10000

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

(All Others)

Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Secure Radios

1105/800m Primitive Runway

None

2 Hardpoints

None

C-130J-30

Flare/Chaff Dispensers, Secure Radios

1220/975 Primitive Runway

None

2 Hardpoints

None

MC-130E/H

Secure Radios, Flare/Chaff Dispensers (80), ECM, IRCM, Deception Jamming, Terrain-Following Radar

800/1105m Primitive Runway

+1

4 Hardpoints

None

 

C-141 Starlifter

     Notes: This aircraft entered service in 1964 as the US Air Force's first all-jet transport.  The main problem with its design is that the fuselage is very narrow, causing the interior space to be packed to its limits before the maximum cargo weight is reached.  Wide vehicles and cargo often cannot be accommodated within its fuselage.  This led to the stretched C-141B.  The C-141 has a large ramp in the rear and paratrooper doors on both sides of the fuselage near the rear.  It has no ejection seats, but the C-141B is capable on in-flight refueling. (The C-141A is not.)

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

C-141A

$25,161,118

AvG

32.14 tons

143.6 tons

5+154, or 123 paratroopers, or 80 stretchers

52

Radar

Enclosed

C-141B

$25.683,513

AvG

41.22 tons

155.56 tons

5+200 or 155 paratroops or 104 stretchers

55

Radar

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

C-141A

1820

455 (145)

NA  114  4/2  30/15

90850

36961

12680

C-141B

1820

455 (145)

NA  114  4/2  30/15

90850

37620

12680

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

C-141A/B

All Weather Flight, Flare/Chaff Dispensers

1770/1130m Hardened Runway

None

None

None

 

V-22 Osprey

     Notes: This aircraft is a radical hybrid of helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.  The propellers and engines of the Osprey tilt 90º from their forward position, giving V/STOL performance.  The Osprey is able to lift 2/3 it’s listed load in VTOL mode, and it’s full load with a short (150 m) takeoff run.  The CV-22 version was added as an assault helicopter substitute by the US Marines in the early 1990s.  No ejection seats are provided, but the Osprey is equipped for aerial refueling.  The Osprey has two forward doors and a rear ramp, and can carry a slung load of up to 4500 kg at half it’s listed safe speed (in VTOL mode).  The CV-22 version’s hardpoints normally carry drop tanks and Sidewinder missiles, and an optional 8000-liter flexible fuel bladder may be carried at the expense of cargo.

     The HV-22 is the SARbird (Search And Rescue) version of the Osprey.  The HV-22 has a large internal fuel tank, which accounts for the higher fuel capacity.  The HV-22 also has a rescue winch (capacity 300 kg) on its front left door.  The HV-22 retains the CV-22s armament, for use in rescues in hostile areas, and can also carry a smaller flexible fuel bladder (4000-liter) at the expense of cargo.  The HV-22 has no ejection seats, but may be refueled in the air and may conduct buddy refueling.

     The MV-22 Pave Hammer is the special operations version of the Osprey, flown by the US Navy, Marines, and Air Force.  In this role, the Osprey is heavily modified with extra armament, fuel, and electronics.  The MV-22 has an electronics suite similar to the MH-53H Pave Low, and shares its terrain-following capability, though Paving in an Osprey is only a Difficult: Pilot task.  The MV-22 can carry almost anything on its hardpoints, and in addition may carry a large flexible fuel bladder in its cargo bay (1775 liters), at the expense of cargo.  The MV-22 may conduct in-flight refueling and buddy refueling, but has no ejection seats.

     The V-22 program has been plagued by repeated crashes; it has seemingly been in development forever.  It was recently killed by the DoD, but there are periodic attempts to resurrect the program.  The Notes above and the stats below are estimates for versions that actually work, something that may or may not come to pass.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

CV-22

$994,921

AvG

9.07 tons (up to 4.5 tons of that slung)

21.54 tons

3+24 or 24 paratroops or 12 stretchers

30

None

Enclosed

HV-22

$1,079,497

AvG

5.69 tons (up to 4.5 tons of that slung)

23.21 tons

3+14

32

Radar

Enclosed

MV-22

$2,221,813

AvG

7.78 tons (up to 4.5 tons of that slung)

25.12 tons

5+17 or 17 paratroops

36

Radar, FLIR

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Mnvr/Acc  Agl/Turn

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Ceiling

CV-22

1020

255

45/64  6/4  35/25

7628

4657

7925

HV-22

1020

255

45/64  6/4  35/25

9628

4567

7925

MV-22

1020

255

45/64  6/4  35/25

8628

4567

7925

 

Vehicle

Combat Equipment

Minimum Landing/Takeoff Zone

RF

Armament

Ammo

CV-22

Secure Radios, Flare/Chaff Dispensers

(VTOL) 50m

(STOL) 150m Primitive Runway

+2

20mm Vulcan, M-2HB (Rear), 4 Hardpoints

1000x20mm, 900x.50BMG

HV-22

Secure Radios, Homing Equipment, Flare/Chaff Dispensers

(VTOL) 50m

(STOL) 150m Primitive Runway

+2

20mm Vulcan, M-2HB (Rear), 4 Hardpoints

1000x20mm, 900x.50BMG

MV-22

Laser Designator, Secure Radios, Flare/Chaff Dispensers, ECM, IRCM, GPS, Engine Noise Reduced by 50%, TFR

(VTOL) 50m

(STOL) 150m Primitive Runway

+3

M-197 30mm; M-2HB (Rear); 2xDoorguns (20mm Vulcan or BRG-15 or M-134 or M-60E2 or M-214 or M-2HB); 4xHardpoints

660x30mm, 900x.50BMG; 250x20mm or 665x15.2BRG or 1250x7.62N or 2780x5.56N or 665x.50BMG