The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is set to receive the first C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin in late 2013 or early 2014.
Designated 661, the aircraft was rolled out in IAF‘s markings at the company’s Marietta production facility in Georgia, US, as reported by Flightglobal.
A total of three stretched-fuselage C-130J-30 aircraft were ordered by Israel in 2010 and 2011 respectively under the US foreign military sales (FMS) programmes, to help replace its ageing C-130E model fleet, which was purchased in the 1970s.
Scheduled to be named Samson in the IAF service and equipped with a three-person cockpit configuration, the aircraft can also be configured to support integration of domestically manufactured equipment in future.
The air force has reportedly started negotiations with Lockheed for procurement of additional three aircraft, which will enter service with its 103 Squadron, in late 2013.
An extended fuselage variant of the C-130J Hercules, the C-130J-30 is a four-engine, medium-lift military transport aircraft designed to carry out a wide range of military, civilian and humanitarian assistance operations.
Besides an expanded cargo compartment, the aircraft also features two-pilot flight station with fully-integrated digital avionics, colour multifunctional liquid crystal displays and head-up displays, as well as enhanced navigation systems with dual inertial navigation system and GPS.
The aircraft is currently operational with the US, Australian, Canadian, Danish, Indian and Norwegian air forces. The remaining aircraft under contract are scheduled to be delivered in 2014.
IAF currently operates 16 C-130 aircraft, which includes a mixture of C-130E, H-model transports and four KC-130H tankers, according to the Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database.
Image: An Israeli Air Force’s C-130 Hercules aircraft at the 2010 Kecskemét International Air Show in Hungary. Photo courtesy of Israel Defense Forces.