With its impressive size and easily penetrable interior, the former Royal Jordanian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules is one of the top dive sites around Aqaba and provides a breathtaking experience for divers of all levels of experience.
The Aqaba Marine Park’s popular attraction has “landed” on the
seabed on the 16th of November 2017 and has already become
the divers’ favorite. The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine
turboprop aircraft and serves as the primary tactical transport aircraft
for many military forces in more than 70 nations worldwide since the ’50s.
Aqaba’s Hercules was donated by the Royal Jordanian Air Force and
all hazardous materials, such as fuel, oil and paint, were removed before
The plane structure has become an artificial reef and consistently attracts
marine life as a new habitat for Aqaba’s diversity of species and
perfectly fits into the coral reef environment.
The wreck of Hercules C-130 is easily accessible from the shore
and by a boat. Located not far from the wreckage of the Cedar
Pride, and only a few metres from the M42 ‘Duster’ anti-aircraft
tracked vehicle, more commonly known as ‘the Tank’ makes an
excellent dive for all levels of training.
The Fascinating Interior of the C-130 Wreck.
The aircraft is standing upright at a flat bottom, almost level,
at an average maximum depth of around 17 meters. With a
length of 30 meters and a wingspan of 40 meters, Hercules is an
impressive sight and is almost always visible from the surface. The
excellent Red Sea visibility aids the descent onto the wreck, and
the site is prone to only the lightest of currents. It is not only it’s
external appearance but it is the interior of the aircraft that inspires
utter delight. Entering the wreck is safe and straightforward. The
open cockpit offers easy-access for penetration. It is a real treat
for underwater photographers as there are a lot of windows and doors
allow the light to penetrate the interior of the plane, making
the experience complete. Hovering outside the cockpit at about
12 meters gives some idea of the aircraft’s size, and is an excellent
opportunity to peer into the cockpit windows. The C-130 is
massive; the fuselage is taller than it is wide, the long wingspan and
empty engine cowlings do make a striking impression of the power
of the aircraft in service. Whereas the front, with the nose gear,
raised slightly the tail fin rises to around 5m under the surface.
It almost gives the impression of an aircraft just about to take off.
Unlocking the Mysteries.
The penetration of the wreck is easy and straightforward. The doors
of the aircraft have been removed, providing easy access to
approximately 12 meters long and 3 meters wide and well-lit,
cavernous interior. The flight deck is also accessible, allowing for
plenty of photo opportunities with the basic controls and steering
columns remain in place.
The C-130 is in good condition and is home to many schools
of fish, a few moray eels, shrimp, and a significant soft coral
growth, especially under the wings.
For technical divers, this unique site offers an unusual challenge
three different wrecks in one dive. Al Shorouk (a shipwreck),
C-130 Hercules (an aircraft) and M42 Duster (anti-aircraft tracked
vehicle) are waiting for the wreck-addicted diver in Aqaba.