Israel is expected to sign a contract by the end of this year for a new fleet of four Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports. The deal will also include an option to acquire a further five aircraft.

The Israeli air force plans to receive its first C-130J in 2013 and has begun to evaluate which Israeli-made systems will be installed on the US-built type.

Acquiring new C-130Js will enable the air force to gradually phase out some of its older C-130Es, while it will continue to invest in prolonging the life of its younger H-model Hercules.

Israel operates a fleet of 18 C-130E/Hs, including several KC-130H tankers, and has over the recent years conducted fatigue testing with the assistance of Lockheed to assess their remaining service lives.

Source: Flight International