The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has taken delivery of the first C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin during a ceremony at its Aeronautics Company's production facility in Georgia, US.
Three stretched-fuselage C-130J-30 aircraft were ordered by IAF under the US foreign military sales (FMS) programmes in 2010 and 2011 respectively, to help replace its ageing C-130E Hercules fleet, which was acquired in the 1970s.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company C-130 programmes vice president and general manager George Shultz said the new aircraft will offer unmatched and combat proven capabilities to the air force.
''With its glass cockpit and modern digital avionics, the C-130J has proven it performs in all environments: hot, cold, dirt and sand,'' Shultz added.
The aircraft, which is nicknamed Samson in the IAF service, will now undergo a modification programme and will be integrated with domestically manufactured systems.
An extended fuselage variant of the C-130J Hercules, 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 in harsh environments worldwide.
In addition to 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 air forces in the US, Australia, Canada, Denmark, India and Norway.
In-country delivery of the first C-130J aircraft is scheduled to take place in spring 2014.
Meanwhile, IAF has also reportedly started negotiations with Lockheed for the procurement of additional three aircraft, for entry into service with its 103 Squadron in late 2013, as reported earlier by FlightGlobal.
Image: Israeli Air Force's first C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Photo: Andrew McMurtrie.