The U.S. Air Force is reportedly fast-tracking development of an amphibious float mod for the C-130 to respond to increasing tension with China in the South Pacific. The float-equipped aircraft would be used to deploy personnel, including Special Forces. The aircraft would allow “the Air Force to increase placement and access for infiltration, exfiltration, and personnel recovery, as well as providing enhanced logistical capabilities,” Lt. Col. Josh Trantham, Air Force Special Operation Command’s science, systems, technology, and innovation deputy division chief, said in a September news release.
The Air Force apparently wants a working prototype by the end of 2022 and is working with a private company on the development. Renderings of the finished product show floats that are almost the full length of the fuselage and would raise the aircraft more than 20 feet on the float-borne landing gear. The floats will be removable. The U.S. military hasn’t operated amphibs for more than 50 years but the Coast Guard used seaplanes until 1983.