The Polish air force commissioned its latest Lockheed Martin C-130E transport into service during a 22 August ceremony at Powidz air base. Now carrying the registration 1505, the ex-US Air Force aircraft had arrived in Poland on 23 July.
Warsaw ordered five C-130Es for $98.4 million using the US government's Foreign Military Financing mechanism, with a separate support deal worth more than $55 million. L-3 Integrated Systems refurbished the aircraft at its Waco site in Texas, with its work having included replacing the Hercules' original centre wing boxes. Also including spare parts and personnel training, the programme's total value is estimated at $165 million.
The Polish air force has logged more than 2,500 flight hours with C-130Es since taking delivery of its first example in March 2009. This was followed by two more in 2010 and a fourth that was accepted in September 2011.
Poland also leased two additional E-model Hercules from the USA due to earlier programme delays. One of these was damaged during an evasive manoeuvre made to avoid hitting a mountain in Afghanistan in February 2010, and was subsequently cannibalised for spare parts. It was replaced by another transport, which is now dedicated to supporting ground training activities in Powidz.
The other leased aircraft was delivered in May 2011, and will be returned to the USA no later than October 2012.