IAF C-130Js – special preparations for special missions

The deployment of a cargo aircraft is not normally an event that stirs excitement.

However, this is not the case for the Israeli air force’s (IAF) deployment of the Lockheed Martin C-130J.

This is not surprising – the role of the C-130 in the IAF goes far beyond what is normally expected from an aircraft designed to fly troops or cargo.

I can use only one example from the history books:

On 27 June 1976, Air France flight 139 departed Tel Aviv for Paris with a stop in Athens. Shortly after taking off from Greece the plane was hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and two Germans from the Revolutionary Cells.

The terrorists ordered the pilots to land and refuel in Benghazi, Libya, before continuing on to pro-Palestinian Uganda.

On the night of 3 July, four Israeli C-130 transports approached Entebbe airport under the cover of darkness. After landing, 29 Israeli commandos unloaded a Mercedes and two Land Rovers to create the sense that the Ugandan president or another high ranking Ugandan official was on the way to meet the terrorists.

After being discovered by Ugandan soldiers near the terminal the Israelis stormed the building, freeing the hostages and killing the hijackers.

This operation is only the tip of the iceberg in a very long line of daring operations in which the IAF’s C-130 had a major role.

Last week Lockheed Martin delivered the first C-130J Super Hercules to Israel during a ceremony at their Marietta plant in Georgia, USA. Delivery to the IAF is planned for early 2014.

In January 2013 a US Air Force C-130J operated by Squadron 37 landed at the IAF’s Nevatim base and performed a joint drill with IAF’s squadrons operating the current fleet of C-130s.

Late last year the IAF opened talks with Lockheed Martin about the possible purchase of another three C-130Js.

The first contract signed in 2010 includes 3 C-130Js, but the IAF said it needs more.

The cockpits of the IAF’s C-130Js will have three seats, similar to the configuration used by US special forces. The aircraft will also be modified for the future installation of some Israeli systems.

The IAF is operating 18 C-130E/H. In recent years the entire fleet underwent fatigue tests with the assistance of Lockheed Martin. The Es will be phased out while the Hs will receive structural treatment.

The IAF wants to be able to use the Js immediately after they arrive in Israel. That is why Israeli pilots are flying the type in the US and other countries that already operate it.

In addition, the air and land crews will be part of the installation of the Israeli developed systems the IAF’s C-130Js will carry.

These are referred to generally as “add-on” systems, but it is clear that they will give the aircraft the capabilities needed for missions in the future.

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One Response to IAF C-130Js – special preparations for special missions

  1. super slim 10 August, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    IAF C-130Js – special preparations for special missions | Ariel View

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