PICTURE: First Lockheed C-130J for USAFE arrives in Ramstein

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The first Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transport to be permanently assigned to a US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) unit has been delivered during a 7 April ceremony at Ramstein air base in Germany.

Attended by over 2,000 people, including US personnel and European guests, the milestone event marked the arrival of the first of 14 stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s to be assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron, 86th Airlift Wing.

Pictured landing at Spangdahlem air base in Germany on 1 April, the aircraft is the first of 10 to be delivered this year as replacements for the squadron's C-130Es. The remainder will follow during 2010, says Lockheed.

© Michael Balter/MBAviation-Images
The USAFE squadron will receive 14 C-130J-30s through 2010

"USAFE brings a lot to the fight, in particular the vital airlift capability we provide in the 'global war on terror' and humanitarian operations the world over. The C-130J will give us an even greater capacity to perform those missions," says USAFE commander Gen Roger Brady. The aircraft are also expected to support operations involving the US Africa Command.

"The C-130J is a proven aircraft that can meet the airlift needs of many countries," says Ross Reynolds, Lockheed's vice-president for C-130 programmes.

Current European operators of the C-130J include Denmark, Italy, Norway and the UK, with the nations having ordered a combined total of 55 of the aircraft.