The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has received the first upgraded C-130 Hercules transport aircraft following the completion of modernisation by Elbit System.

As a result of the upgrade, the C-130 received new radar and digital screens in addition to its new main wing.

The overall renewal project will allow the aircraft to remain in service until 2040. The first upgraded aircraft took off from Nevatim Airbase.

Nevatim Airbase commander Brigadier Lihu Hacohen said: "We celebrate the completion of the process and the beginning of the meaningful period of integration.

"We are going out on a new road, with a new and better fighting aircraft.

"I am proud to see the plane taking off in the Negev desert".

Built by Lockheed Martin, the C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed to support airborne assault, search-and-rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting missions.

Powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines, the heavy-lift tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft is capable of accommodating a payload of up to 20t, or more than 90 passengers.

The modernisation programme was aimed at extending the aircraft’s operational life and also enhancing its operational capability, particularly in precision flying, low-level night flight and operations in adverse weather conditions.

The new aircraft will be operated by the Knights of the Yellow Bird squadron, which operates the C-130 for the past 30 years.

"We celebrate the completion of the process and the beginning of the meaningful period of integration."

Knights of the Yellow Bird commander Lieutenant colonel A said: "With the improved C-130 we can perform our missions in a better, simpler way.

"We get excellent aircraft with high operational capabilities."

The Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) awarded the modernisation contract to Elbit Systems in December 2012.

In August, IAF received an additional C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft from the US. The IAF ordered three C-130J-30 aircraft under US foreign military sales (FMS) programmes between 2010 and 2011.

Image: Israeli Air Force’s upgraded C-130 aircraft.. Photo: courtesy of Israel AF photo.