The Tunisian Air Force has received its first C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft under contract from Lockheed Martin, which also represents the aircraft’s first delivery to an African country.
A total of two C-130J-30 airlifters, along with a training and a three-year logistics support package, were ordered by the Tunisian Ministry of National Defense (MND) under an undisclosed contract from the company in February 2010.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company C-130 programmes vice president and general manager George Shultz said Tunisia will recapitalise its airlift resources with the proven C-130J aircraft, which has already been selected by 15 international countries to address airlift requirements.
”Be it recapitalisation of existing fleets or new operators seeking proven airlift performance and capability, the C-130J is the low-risk, affordable solution,” Shultz added.
A longer fuselage or stretched version of the C-130J aircraft, the Tunisian airlifters are scheduled to be operated in support of a broad mission spectrum, including disaster relief efforts, firefighting and traditional airlift sorties worldwide.
Powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines, the C-130J Super Hercules is designed to conduct airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance and aerial refuelling, as well as maritime patrol and aerial firefighting missions.
The aircraft is also in service with air forces in Australia, Canada, Denmark, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Republic of Korea, Qatar, the UK and the US.
The remaining aircraft under the contract are scheduled to be delivered to the Tunisian Air Force in 2014.
The air force currently operates a mixed fleet of C-130H and C-130B aircraft, which were first acquired in the mid-1980s for tactical airlift and transport missions.
Image: Tunisian Air Force’s first C-130J-30 Super Hercules being rolled out after painting at Lockheed’s facility in Marietta, Georgia, US. Photo: Courtesy of Lockheed Martin; photo by Thinh Nguyen.