Poland eyes C-130 lease deal, after delay hits refurbishment project

Warsaw
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Poland's defence ministry is negotiating the possible lease of transport aircraft from the US Air Force to cover delays in preparing its next four secondhand Lockheed Martin C-130Es for operational use.

The Polish air force took delivery of its first refurbished C-130E on 24 March, with this assigned to its 14th Air Transport Squadron at Powidz air base.

 
© Polish air force

Warsaw had expected to receive its last aircraft next year under a $98.4 million deal funded using Washington's Foreign Military Financing system. But air force training chief Brig Gen Anatol Czaban says the remainder have been delayed due to "technical problems".

L3 will cover $6 million of a $13.1 million cost overrun, which the US Department of Defense says was caused by an incorrect assessment of the technical condition of the aircraft. The US government will pay the remaining $7.1 million.

Lockheed says it was not involved in the supply of C-130s to Poland.

With Poland's last ex-USAF Hercules now expected to be delivered in late 2011, Czaban says "there are talks about temporarily leasing one or two C-130s from Ramstein AFB" in Germany. All costs would be covered by the USA, with the aircraft to receive temporary Polish markings and be delivered in November.

Eight Polish C-130 aircrews have now completed training on the type in the USA, from an eventual complement of 15 crews totalling 75 personnel.