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Netherlands selects C-390 to replace C-130 airlifters

17th June 2022 - 10:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Netherlands is to buy five C-390 Millennium aircraft from Embraer. (Photo: Embraer)

The Netherlands is to procure C-390 aircraft to replace a retiring C-130 fleet.

The Netherlands MoD has decided to buy Embraer C-390 Millennium aircraft to succeed retiring Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules airlifters. 

On the basis of additional flight hours being required, five C-390 platforms are to be acquired, one more than the existing C-130 fleet, with deliveries set to begin in 2026, noted a 16 June Netherlands MoD statement. 

The four C-130s 'have reached the end of their lifespan,' added the MoD. 'Initially it was the intention to continue flying with them until at least 2031, but they are less and less often deployable due to defects.'

Competition to replace the C-130 saw the newer C-130J assessed against the C-390, the latter being selected primarily due to a higher availability rate and scoring better 'on a number of operational and technical requirements,'  alongside it requiring less maintenance. 

'In addition, the C-390M can already meet the minimum requirement of 2,400 flying hours with 4 aircraft. The C-130J needs 5 aircraft for this,' added the Netherlands MoD. 

The C-390 is also expected to eventually join the European Air Transport Command. 

The total cost of the programme is forecast to be €1 billion to €2.5 billion ($1.05 billion to $2.63 billion), which is substantially greater than an original estimate of €250 million to €1 billion. Such an increase derives from more flight hours being sought. 

The Netherlands will become the third export operator of the C-390 behind Portugal and Hungary.  

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