Back in May during the annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) said it was looking into the development of a plane that could take off from and land on water in support of special operations units. Now, the Air Force is moving ahead with plans for such an aircraft.

AFSOC wants to use the venerable MC-130J Commando II aircraft and equip it with pontoons. This will make one of the world’s most versatile aircraft frames even more so. AFSOC is planning to fly a prototype in the next 17 months. 

During SOFIC, Special Operations Command’s Program Executive Officer – Fixed-Wing Air Force Colonel Ken Kuebler said the engineering challenge would be difficult but the capability would create even more challenges for enemies in the near future.

“It just gives us a lot of capability as we look toward a great power competition,” Kuebler said.