Iraq has doubled its inventory of Hercules tactical transports, with the nation's air force having taken delivery of three new-generation C-130Js from Lockheed Martin at the end of last year.

Part of a deal for six C-130Js signed in installments in 2008 and 2009, the trio left Lockheed's Marietta production site in Georgia, USA, in mid-December. They will be followed by Baghdad's three remaining examples during 2013, the manufacturer says.

 C-130J Iraq - Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed performed the first flight of the type for Iraq in mid-August 2012, and the US Air Force says an initial 24 of its ally's personnel have completed training in the USA. These comprise seven pilots, 16 maintainers and one loadmaster, it says.

The Iraqi air force's air transport fleet already included three older C-130Es, which were acquired from surplus US Air Force stocks following the removal from power of former president Saddam Hussein.