The Swedish air force is nearing a decision on a long-planned avionics modernisation programme for its Lockheed Martin C-130H transports, according to the service's inspector general, Maj Gen Anders Silwer.

"We have offers, and the FMV [Defence Materiel Administration] is looking at them right now," Silwer said at the Paris air show on 22 June. "We don't have a decision yet, but the requirement is funded."

Flightglobal's MiliCAS database records the Swedish air force's oldest of eight C-130s as having been delivered in 1965, while its five most recent examples entered use in 1981.

Stockholm had previously planned to put its eight-strong Hercules fleet through the US Air Force's Boeing-led C-130 avionics modernisation programme, but Silwer said its interest ended when proposed unit costs increased after Washington reduced the scale of its upgrade project.

 C-130H tanker - Swedish air force
© Swedish air force

One of Sweden's C-130s - 1969-vintage aircraft 842 - saw use as a tanker during the early part of the air force's "Karakal" contribution to NATO's Unified Protector campaign over Libya.

This has since returned to Sweden, where it is now being used to support additional air-to-air refuelling training for pilots flying the Saab JAS39 Gripen. The air force's Gripen detachment at Sigonella in Sicily now relies on tanker support from US Air Force McDonnell Douglas KC-10s and Boeing KC/C-135s from the US and French air forces while performing reconnaissance missions over the Libyan mainland.

In addition to operating its C-130s, Sweden also is a partner in NATO's Strategic Airlift Capability programme, through which it pays for 500 flight hours a year on the Heavy Airlift Wing's three Boeing C-17 airlifters.

Source: Flight International