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Capable of takeoffs and landings from unprepared runways, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling and aerial firefighting. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more than 50 years of service the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations.
The Korean War, which began in June, 1950, showed that World War II-era transports—C-119 Flying Boxcars, C-47 Skytrains and C-46 Commandos—were inadequate for modern warfare. Thus on February 2, 1951, the United States Air Force issued a General Operating Requirement (GOR) for a new transport to Boeing, Douglas, Fairchild, Lockheed, Martin, Chase Aircraft, North American Northrop, and Airlifts Inc. The new transport would have a capacity for 92 passengers, 72 combat troops or 64 paratroopers, a range of Template:Convert, takeoff capability from short and unprepared strips, and the ability to fly with one engine shut down.
Fairchild, North American, Martin and Northrop declined to participate. The remaining five companies tendered a total of ten designs: Lockheed two, Boeing one, Chase three, Douglas three, Airlifts Inc. one. The contest was a close affair between the lighter of the two Lockheed (preliminary project designation L-206) proposals and a four-turboprop Douglas design.
The Lockheed design team was led by Willis Hawkins, starting with a 130 page proposal for the Lockheed L-206, and another two-turboprop and heavier one. Hall Hibbard, Lockheed vice president and chief engineer, saw the proposal and directed it to Kelly Johnson, who remarked when he saw the proposal, "If you sign that letter, you will destroy the Lockheed Company."Template:Clarifyme Both Hibbard and Johnson signed the proposal and the company won the contract for the now-designated Model 82 on July 2, 1951.
The first flight of the YC-130 prototype was made on August 23, 1954 from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California. The aircraft, serial number 53-3397, was the second prototype but the first of the two to fly. The YC-130 was piloted by Stanley Beltz and Roy Wimmer on its 61-minute flight to Edwards Air Force Base; Jack Real and Dick Stanton served as flight engineers. Kelly Johnson flew chase in a P2V Neptune.
The initial production model, the C-130A, was powered by Allison T56-A-9 turboprops with three-blade propellers. Deliveries began in December 1956, continuing until the introduction of the C-130B model in 1959. Some A models were re-designated C-130D after being equipped with skis. The newer C-130B had ailerons with increased boost — 3,000 versus 2,050 lbf/in² (21 versus 14 MPa) — as well as uprated engines and four-bladed propellers that were standard until the "J" model's introduction.
The first production C-130s were designated as A-models, with deliveries to the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma and the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Six additional squadrons were assigned to the 322nd Air Division in Europe and the 315th Air Division in the Far East. Additional airplanes were modified for electronics intelligence work and assigned to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany while modified RC-130As were assigned to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) photo-mapping division. Airplanes equipped with giant skis were designated as C-130Ds, but were essentially A-models except for the conversion. As the C-130A became operational with Tactical Air Command (TAC), the airplane's lack of range became apparent and additional fuel capacity was added in the form of external pylon-mounted tanks at the end of the wings. The A-model continued in service through the Vietnam War, where the airplanes assigned to the four squadrons at Naha AB, Okinawa and one at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan performed yeoman's service, including operating highly classified special operations missions such as the BLIND BAT FAC/Flare mission and FACT SHEET leaflet mission over Laos and North Vietnam. The A-model was also provided to the South Vietnamese Air Force as part of the Vietnamization program at the end of the war, and equipped three squadrons based at Tan Son Nhut AFB.
The C-130B model was developed to complement the A-models that had previously been delivered,and incorporated new features, particularly increased fuel capacity in the form of auxiliary tanks built into the center wing section and an AC electrical system. Four-bladed Hartzell propellers replaced the Aero Product three-bladed propellers that distinguished the earlier A-models. B-models replaced A-models in the 314th and 463rd Troop Carrier Wings. During the Vietnam War four squadrons assigned to the 463rd Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Wing based at Clark and Mactan Air Fields in the Philippines were used primarily for tactical airlift operations in South Vietnam. In the spring of 1969 463rd crews commenced COMMANDO VAULT bombing missions dropping M-121 10,000 pound bombs to clear "instant LZs" for helicopters. As the Vietnam War wound down, the 463rd B-models and A-models of the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing were transferred back to the United States where most were assigned to Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units. Another prominent role for the B-model was with the United States Marine Corps, where Hercules initially designated as GV-1s replaced C-119s. After Air Force C-130Ds proved the type's usefulness in Antarctica, the US Navy purchased a number of B-models equipped with skis that were designated as LC-130s.
The extended range C-130E model entered service in 1962 after it developed as an interim long-range transport for the Military Air Transport Service. Essentially a B-model, the new designation was the result of the installation of 5,150 liter (1,360 US gallon) fuel tanks under each wing. (center-section) wing-mounted auxiliary fuel tanks and more powerful Allison T-56-A-7A turboprops. The E model also featured structural improvements, avionics upgrades and a higher gross weight.
The KC-130 tankers, originally C-130Fs procured for the US Marine Corps (USMC) in 1958 (under the designation GV-1) are equipped with a removable 13,626 liter (3600 US gallon) stainless steel fuel tank carried inside the cargo compartment. The two wing-mounted hose and drogue aerial refueling pods each transfer up to 19 liters per second (equivalent to 300 US gallons per minute) to two aircraft simultaneously, allowing for rapid cycle times of multiple-receiver aircraft formations, (a typical tanker formation of four aircraft in less than 30 minutes). The US Navy's C-130G has increased structural strength allowing higher gross weight operation.
The C-130H model has updated Allison T56-A-15 turboprops, a redesigned outer wing, updated avionics and other minor improvements. Later H models had a new, fatigue-life-improved, center wing that was retro-fitted to many earlier H-models. The H model remains in widespread use with the US Air Force (USAF) and many foreign air forces. Initial deliveries began in 1964 (to the RNZAF), remaining in production until 1996. An improved C-130H was introduced in 1974.
From 1992 to 1996 the C-130H was described as a C-130H3 by the USAF. The 3 denoting the third variation in design for the H series. Improvements included a partial glass cockpit (ADI and HSI instruments), a more capable APN-241 color radar, night vision device compatible instrument lighting and an improved electrical system using Bus Switching Units to provide 'clean' power to the more sensitive upgraded components.
The equivalent model for export to the UK is the C-130K, known by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as the Hercules C.1. The C-130H-30 (Hercules C.3 in RAF service) is a stretched version of the original Hercules, achieved by inserting a 100-inch (2.54 m) plug aft of the cockpit and an 80-inch (2.03 m) plug at the rear of the fuselage. A single C-130K was purchased by the Met Office for use by its Meteorological Research Flight. This aircraft was heavily modified (with its most prominent feature being the long red and white striped atmospheric probe on the nose) to the extent that it was given the designation W.2, to differentiate it from the ordinary C.1. This aircraft, named Snoopy, was withdrawn in 2001. The C-130K is used by the RAF Falcons for parachute drops. Three C-130K (Hercules C Mk.1P) were upgraded and sold to the Austrian Air Force in 2002.
Later C-130 models & variantsEdit
The HC-130N & P are long range search and rescue variants used by the USAF, to include the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard. Equipped for deep deployment of pararescue men (PJs), survival equipment, and aerial refueling of combat rescue helicopters, HC-130s are usually the on-scene command aircraft for combat SAR missions. Early versions were equipped with the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system, designed to pull a person off the ground using a wire strung from a helium balloon. The John Wayne movie The Green Berets features its use. The Fulton system was later removed when aerial refueling of helicopters proved safer and more versatile. The movie The Perfect Storm depicts a real life SAR mission involving aerial refueling of a New York Air National Guard HH-60G by an Air National Guard HC-130P.
The C-130R and C-130T are US Navy and USMC models, both equipped with underwing external fuel tanks. The C-130T is similar, but has numerous avionics improvements over the R model and is fully night-vision system compatible. In both models, USMC aircraft are equipped with Allison T-56-A-16 engines. The USMC versions are designated KC-130R or KC-130T when equipped with underwing refueling pods and pylons.
The Lockheed L-100 (L-382) is a civilian variant, equivalent to a C-130E model without pylon tanks or military equipment. The L-100 also has 2 stretched versions: the L-100-20 has an 8.3 ft (2.5 m) fuselage stretch and the L-100-30 is stretched by 15 ft (4.6 m). The L-100 has not seen widespread use in the civilian market.
In the 1970s Lockheed proposed a C-130 variant with turbofan engines rather than turboprops, but the US Air Force preferred the takeoff performance of the existing aircraft. In the 1980s the C-130 was intended to be replaced by the Advanced Medium STOL Transport project. The project was canceled and the C-130 has remained in production.
The C-130J is the newest version of the Hercules and the only model still produced. Externally similar to the classic Hercules in general appearance, the J model has new turboprops, digital avionics, and other new systems.
Operational historyEditThe Hercules holds the record for the largest and heaviest aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. In October and November 1963, a USMC KC-130F (BuNo 149798), bailed to the US Naval Air Test Center, made 21 unarrested landings and take-offs on the USS Forrestal at a number of different weights. The pilot, LT (later RADM) James Flatley III, USN, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his participation. The tests were highly successful, but the idea was considered too risky for routine "Carrier Onboard Delivery" (COD) operations. Instead, the C-2 Greyhound was developed as a dedicated COD aircraft. (The Hercules used in the test, most recently in service with Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 352 (VMGR-352) until 2005, is now part of the collection of the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida.)
While the C-130 is involved in cargo and resupply operations daily, it has been a part of some notable offensive operations:
The AC-130 also holds the record for the longest sustained flight by a C-130. From 22 October to 24 October 1997, two AC-130U gunships flew 36.0 hours nonstop from Hurlburt Field Florida to Taegu (Daegu) South Korea while being refueled 7 times by KC-135 tanker aircraft. This record flight shattered the previous record longest flight by over 10 hours while the 2 gunships took on 410,000 lbs of fuel. With the exception of 'Eldorado Canyon' the U.S. raid on Libya, the gunship has been used in every U.S. combat operation since Vietnam.Template:Fact
The MC-130 Combat Talon variant carries and deploys what are currently the world's largest conventional bombs, the BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter" and GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, also known as the MOAB. Daisy Cutters were used during the Vietnam War to clear landing zones for helicopters and to eliminate minefields and have recently even been proposed for anti-personnel use. The weight and size of the weapons make it impossible or impractical to load them on conventional bombers. The GBU-43/B MOAB is a successor to the BLU-82 and can perform the same function, as well as perform strike functions against hardened targets in a low air threat environment.
In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Pakistan Air Force modified/improvised several aircraft for use as heavy bombers, and attacks were made on enemy bridges and troop concentrations with some notable successes. No aircraft were lost in the operations, though one was slightly damaged.
It was also used in the 1976 Entebbe raid in which Israeli commando forces carried a surprise assault to rescue 103 passengers of an airliner hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists at Entebbe Airport, Uganda. The rescue force — 200 soldiers, jeeps, and a black Mercedes-Benz (intended to resemble Ugandan Dictator Idi Amin's vehicle of state) — was flown Template:Convert from Israel to Entebbe by five Israeli Air Force (IAF) Hercules aircraft without mid-air refueling (on the way back, the planes refueled in Nairobi, Kenya).
During the Falklands War of 1982, Argentine Air Force C-130s undertook highly dangerous, daily re-supply flights to the Argentine garrison on the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). Only one was lost during the war. Argentina also operated two KC-130s refuellers during the war, and these refueled the Skyhawk attack planes which sank the British frigate HMS Antelope. The British also used their C-130s to support their logistical operations.
During the Gulf War of 1991, the C-130 Hercules was used operationally by the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps, and the air forces of Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the UK.
During the invasion of Afghanistan and in support of the International Security Assistance Force, the C-130 Hercules was used operationally by Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, the UK and the United States.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the C-130 Hercules was used operationally by Australia, the UK and the United States. After the initial invasion, C-130 operators as part of the Multinational force in Iraq used their C-130s to support their forces in Iraq.
One RAF C-130 was shot down on 30th January 2005, when an Iraqi insurgent brought it down firing with a ZU-23 anti-aircraft artillery gun while the plane was flying at 50 meters after it had dropped SAS special forces paratroopers.
A prominent C-130T aircraft is Fat Albert, the support aircraft for the US Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. Although Fat Albert supports a Navy squadron, it is operated by the US Marine Corps (USMC) and its crew consists solely of USMC personnel. At some air shows featuring the team, Fat Albert takes part, performing flyovers and sometimes demonstrating its jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) capabilities.
In the late 1980s, 22 retired USAF C-130As were removed from storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and transferred to the U.S. Forest Service who then sold them to six private companies to be converted into airtankers for use in fighting wildfires (see U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal). After one of these aircraft crashed due to wing separation in flight as a result of fatigue stress cracking, the entire fleet of C-130A airtankers was permanently grounded in 2004. (See 2002 airtanker crashes.)
Significant military variants of the C-130 include:
- C-130A/B/E/F/G/H/T tactical airlifter
- C-130J Super Hercules tactical airlifter, with new engines, avionics, and updated systems
- AC-130A/E/H/U gunship
- C-130D/D-6 ski-equipped version for snow & ice operations US Air Force / Air National Guard
- DC-130 and GC-130 drone control
- EC-130E/J Commando Solo USAF / Air National Guard Psychological operations version
- EC-130E Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC)
- EC-130H Compass Call, electronic warfare and electronic attack.
- HC-130H/N/P special operations air-to-air refueling tanker, long-range surveillance, search and rescue
- JC-130 and NC-130 temporary and permanent conversion for flight test operations
- KC-130F/J/R/T United States Marine Corps aerial refueling tanker and tactical airlifter
- LC-130F/H/R USAF / Air National Guard ski-equipped version for Arctic & Antarctic support operations. Formerly operated by the United States Navy's Antarctic Development Squadron SIX (VXE-6) in support of the National Science Foundation
- MC-130E/H Combat Talon I/II (special operations)
- MC-130W Combat Spear (special operations)
- MC-130P Combat Shadow (special operations)
- YMC-130H three modified for planned Iran hostage crisis rescue attempt under Operation Credible Sport
- PC-130 maritime patrol
- RC-130 reconnaissance
- SC-130 search and rescue
- TC-130 aircrew training
- VC-130 VIP transport
- WC-130A/B/E/H/J weather reconnaissance ("Hurricane Hunter") version for USAF / Air Force Reserve Command in support of the NOAA/National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center
- CC-130E/H Hercules - designation for Canadian Forces Hercules aircraft
- C-130K Hercules designation for Royal Air Force Hercules C1/C2/C3 aircraft
- L-100 - Civilian version, equivalent to the C-130E
- L-100-20 - Civilian version, stretched Template:Convert
- L-100-30 - Civilian version, stretched Template:Convert
The C-130 is generally a highly reliable aircraft. The Royal Air Force recorded an accident rate of about one aircraft loss per 250,000 flying hours over the last forty years, making it one of the safest aircraft they operate (alongside Vickers VC10s and Lockheed Tristars with no flying losses). However, more than 15 percent of the 2,350-plus production has been lost, including 70 by the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps while serving in the war in Southeast Asia. By the nature of the Hercules' worldwide service, the pattern of losses provides an interesting barometer of the global hot spots over the past fifty years, including Iraq.
Aircraft on displayEdit
- AC-130A USAF 53-3129, c.n. 3001
- First production Hercules, modified to gunship configuration in November 1967, survived 37 mm AAA hit over South Vietnam in March 1973, repaired, and finally retired from the 711th Special Operations Squadron in 1995 for display at the Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin AFB, Florida. Named "The First Lady" since November 1970.
- AC-130A USAF 54-1623, c.n. 3010
- Modified to AC-130A by Ling-Temco-Vought in March 1968, operations in SEA, named "Ghost Rider", then with the 711th SOS, 1975-1997. Retired to Dobbins AFB, Georgia, April 1997, with three-blade props reinstalled, as gate guard. To eventual Lockheed museum at Marietta, Georgia.
- AC-130A USAF 54-1626, c.n. 3013
- Prototype AC-130A upgrade, operations in Southeast Asia with the 16th Special Operations Squadron, 1967-1972, then to JC-130A test configuration. To the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio as JC-130A in 1976. Back to AC-130A configuration in late 1990s.
- AC-130A USAF 54-1630, c.n. 3017
- Airlifter with 314 TCW, then to Air Force Missile Test Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, February 1960, then modified to JC-130A with various units. Back to C-130A, November 1967. Conversion by Ling-Temco-Vought to AC-130A, January 1968, ops by 16 SOS, named "Mors de Coelis", then "Azrael - Angel of Death". To 415 SOTS, Hurlburt Field, Florida, August 1971, then to 711 SOS, Duke Field, Florida, November 1975, still as "Azrael" until retirement to the National Museum of the United States Air Force September 29, 1995.
- AC-130A USAF 56-0509, c.n. 3117
- Airlifter with 314 TCW, 315 AD, 374 TCW; to Ling-Temco-Vought, August 1970, and modified to AC-130A. Operations with 16th Special Operations Squadron; damaged at An Loc, South Vietnam, 23 December 1972; named "Raids Kill 'Em Dead", October, 1974, to 711th Special Operations Squadron, July 1975, named "Ultimate End", April, 1994; assigned to Hurlburt Field, Florida, October, 1994, and retired to Hurlburt Field's Air Commando Memorial Park, May 1995.
- C-130A USAF 56-0518, c.n 3126
- Holds the C-130 record for taking off with the most personnel on board at over 400. Little Rock AFB Visitor Center.
- C-130A USAF 57-0453, c.n. 3160
- Various airlifter assignments from 1958 to 1991, last duty with 155th TAS, 164th TAG, Tennessee Air National Guard, Memphis International Airport, Tennessee, 1976-1991, named "Nite Train to Memphis"; to AMARC in December, 1991, then sent to Texas for modification into replica of C-130A-II 56-0528, shot down by Russian fighters over Soviet Yerevan, Armenia on September 2, 1958, while on ELINT mission with loss of all crew. Now displayed in National Vigilance Park, National Security Agency grounds, Fort George Meade, Maryland. Three-blade prop replaced later four-blade version.
- C-130D USAF 57-0490, c.n. 3197
- Ops with 61st TCS, 17th TCS, lost no. 1 prop in flight, belly-landed, repaired, July 1975, 139th TAS with skis, July 1975-April 1983; to MASDC, 1984-1985, GC-130D ground trainer, Chanute AFB, Illinois, 1986-1990; Chanute TTC closed, September 1993, airframe to Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, Rantoul, Illinois, July 1994; moved to Empire State Air Museum, Schenectady County Airport, New York, placed at Stratton ANGB gate, October 1994, same, February 2004.
- NC-130B USAF 57-0526, c.n. 3502
- Second B model manufactured, initially delivered as JC-130B; assigned to 6515th Organizational Maintenance Squadron for flight testing at Edwards AFB, California on 29 Nov 1960; turned over to 6593rd Test Squadron's Operating Location No. 1 at Edwards AFB and spent next seven years supporting Corona Program; "J" status and prefix removed from aircraft Oct 1967; transferred to 6593rd Test Squadron at Hickam AFB, Hawaii and modified for mid-air retrieval of satellites; acquired by 6514th Test Squadron at Hill AFB in Jan 1987 and used as electronic testbed and cargo transport; aircraft retired Jan 1994 with 11,000+ flight hours and moved to Hill Aerospace Museum.
- KC-130F USMC BuNo 149798, c.n. 3680
- Used in tests in October-November 1963 by the U.S. Navy for unarrested landings and take-offs from the carrier USS Forrestal, it remains the record holder for largest aircraft to operate from a carrier flight deck, and carried the name "Look Ma, No Hook" during the tests. Retired to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola, Florida in May, 2003.
- C-130G USMC BuNo 151891, c.n. 3878
- Modified to EC-130G, 1966, then testbed for EC-130Q in 1981. To TC-130G in May 1990 and assigned as Blue Angels support craft, serving as "Fat Albert Airlines" from 1991 to 2002. Retired to the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida, November 2002.
- C-130E RCAF 10315, later 130315, c.n. 4070
- Service with many squadrons including 436, 435, 436 (again), 413, 8 Wing, and 426 Transport Training Squadron, by June 2005. Ground trainer, July 2006; to be installed in building, December 2007.
- C-130E USAF 69-6579, c.n. 4354
- Ops with 61st TAS, 314th TAW, 50th AS, 61st AS; at Dyess AFB as maintenance trainer as GC-130E, March 1998, same, May 2005; to Dyess AFB museum, January 2004.
- C-130E USAF 69-6580, c.n. 4356
- Ops with 61st TAS, 314th TAW, 317th TAW, 314th TAW, 317th TAW, 40th AS, 41st AS, 43rd AW, center wing cracks, April 2002, to Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB, 2 February 2004.
- C-130E USAF 70-1269, c.n. 4423
- 43rd AW, to Pope Air Park, Pope AFB, 2006.
- C-130H Royal Norwegian Air Force 953, (USAF 68-10953) c.n. 4335
- Retired 10 June 2007 and moved the the Air Force museum at Oslo Gardermoen in May 2008.
- C-130H RSAF 460, c.n. 4566
- Operated by 4 Squadron Royal Saudi Air Force, December 1974, same January 1987. Burned on ground, air conditioner fire - in airfield corner at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, December 1989. Restored for ground training by August 1993, same March 2002. At Riyadh Air Base Museum, November 2002, restored for ground display.
- C-130H USAF 74-1686, c.n. 4669
- Airlifter with the 463rd TAW; one of three C-130H airframes modified to YMC-130H for aborted rescue attempt of Iranian hostages, Operation Credible Sport, with rocket packages blistered onto fuselage in 1980, but these were removed after mission was cancelled. Subsequent duty with the 4950th Test Wing, then donated to the Robins AFB museum, Georgia, in March 1988.
The Fairchild C-123 Provider is a twin-engined military transport aircraft produced by the US American manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft, developed by Chase Aircraft.
Propulsion 2 Radial Engines Engine Model Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99W Double Wasp Engine Power (each) 1715 kW 2300 hp
Speed 367 km/h 198 kts
Service Ceiling 8.839 m 29.000 ft Range 2.367 km 1.278 NM 1.471 mi.
Empty Weight 13.562 kg 30.000 lbs max. Takeoff Weight 27.216 kg 60.000 lbs
Wing Span 33,53 m 110,0 ft Wing Area 113,6 m² 1223 ft² Length 23,09 m 75,8 ft Height 10,39 m 34,1 ft
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- C-130 Hercules, MC-130P Combat Shadow, and MC-130W Combat Spear USAF fact sheets
- C-130 US Navy fact file and C-130 history page on Navy.mil
- C-130 page on GlobalSecurity.org
- C-130 Hercules page on AviaMil.net
- Lockheed C-130 Hercules page on Aircraft.co.za
- HerkyBirds.com 10,000+ C-130 images and forum
- Fatal Coast Guard Crashes
- On the World of War Wiki
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