The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has received its seventh Super Hercules C-130J military transport aircraft at the Nevatim air base.
Known as Shimshon, the new aircraft can carry 128 combatants, 97 stretchers and four high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs), and has joined the ranks of the 103rd (Elephants) Squadron.
IAF received the first Shimshon in April 2014. The aircraft has been deployed in both operational and humanitarian missions.
Shimshon is an improved version of the ‘Karnaf’ (Hercules C-130HI) aircraft. The 103rd Squadron was known as Karnaf squadron until August 2013.
The aircraft, which is equipped with advanced systems in the field of tactical transport aircraft, is a modern, computerised and modified version with improved flight conditions and capability for professional operation.
It offers operational advantages in the form of a larger cargo hold, exact piloting and high-quality flight performance.
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In a statement, 103 Squadron said: “The Israeli systems installed in the ‘Shimshon’ make it a leading aircraft in its field. Wherever we are in the world, our partners see the advantages of the Israeli ‘Shimshon’ and are impressed by its advanced capabilities.
“Combining an American platform with Israeli systems makes the aircraft ever relevant for the current operational theatre.
“The new aircraft will allow us to be more significant during wartime while also providing the squadron’s aircrew members with the ability to train for longer periods of time. In addition, the 103rd Squadron is in close cooperation with the IDF ground forces and the new aircraft will allow the cooperation to go even further.”
A loadmaster, who is part of a Shimshon sortie and is situated in the cargo hold, handles all activity in the aircraft’s cargo hold, including loading in equipment, parachuting troops, operating the aircraft’s systems or addressing malfunctions.