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PICTURE: Bahrain receives ex-Royal Air Force Hercules

Bahrain has taken delivery of its first of two ex-UK Royal Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports.

Acquired via the UK Ministry of Defence following its retirement from service, the aircraft underwent depth maintenance at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group's Cambridge airport site before being approved for a return to operational use. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the aircraft – which now carries the Royal Bahraini Air Force registration 702 – is 19 years old.

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Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group

Marshall says work also included "some minor modifications and a full aircraft repaint". The UK company is also responsible for providing Manama with "elements of an initial operational capability set-up" to support the type's introduction.

Bahrain's acquisition of the surplus RAF aircraft plugs a previous capability gap, as it was the only Gulf Cooperation Council nation with no tactical airlift assets. Its first Hercules is expected to make a debut appearance at the Bahrain air show, running from 14-16 November.

"Delivery of this aircraft sees the first government-to-government transfer of a C-130J, and the Kingdom of Bahrain enter the C-130 community as a new operator," says Matthew Harvey, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group's international sales director, military aerospace.

The UK MoD opted to retire the RAF's short-fuselage C-130Js, while retaining its stretched examples. It has also sold two examples to Bangladesh, while another is to provide logistics support for the US Navy's Blue Angels aerobatic display team.

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