Australia orders 20 C-130Js to replace and expand current RAAF fleet
The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) transport capability will be substantially boosted by an Australian DoD order of 20 new C-130J Hercules aircraft under a AUD9.8 billion ($6.6 billion) contract announced on 24 July.
The new acquisitions will replace and expand upon the 12 Hercules aircraft currently operated by the air force with delivery of the first aircraft expected from late 2027.
The current fleet of C-130Js operated by the RAAF have been heavily used, taking part in almost every Australian defence operation since entering service, including Bougainville assistance and Timor-Leste peacekeeping through to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More recently the aircraft supported Australia’s response to COVID-19 in the region, delivering vaccines and medical supplies, as well as bushfire and flood response.
The aircraft will continue to be operated by the 37th Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond in NSW.
Shephard Defence Insight notes that the newest contract will take the number ordered to 334 with 241 delivered.
It has been ordered by 21 countries.
Australia bought 12 C-130Js under Project Air 5216 in 1995 and deliveries were completed in 2000 with an out-of-service date of 2039.
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