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Tactical advantage – is the best replacement for a C-130 another C-130?

18th September 2023 - 11:30 GMT | by Edward Hunt in Trieste

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A large number of operators of older-generation C-130s have opted to replace or augment their fleets with the J-model. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

While designs like the Embraer C-390 have chalked up some export successes, Shephard analyses whether a true competitor (or successor) to Lockheed's C-130J currently exists. Or will the Hercules production line simply remain open for decades to come?

Embraer’s C-390 was recently declared fully operational by the Portuguese Air Force’s 506 Squadron. The Brazilian manufacturer had put significant effort into collaboration with local industry and the common language was of likely benefit.

This has provided Embraer with a bridgehead into what is likely to become a highly valuable market: the EU/NATO tactical transport segment. Hungary is due to receive the first C-390s in 2023-24 while the Netherlands appears strongly inclined to announce a purchase in 2025-26.

Saab, partnered with Embraer on the Gripen E/F fighter programme and which had long considered its own tactical transport design, is also

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Edward Hunt

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Edward Hunt


Edward has worked in the aerospace and defence Industry since 2005, initially for Jane’s and then …

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