Poland buys five ex-US Air Force C-130H Hercules airlifters

Polish Minister of National Defense Marisz Blaszczak announced that on April 12, 2021, Poland signed an intergovernmental agreement with the United States on the acquisition of five Lockheed C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft from the US Air Force.

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Poland buys five ex US Air Force C 130H Hercules airlifters A US Air Force C-130H (Picture source:  US Air Force)

“We have signed a contract to acquire 5 C-130H aircraft under the Excess Defense Articles program,” said Polish Minister of National Defense Marisz Blaszczak. He also added that the cargo planes will go to the 33rd Transport Aviation Base in Powidz and will increase Polish transport capacity.

“We expect the first of them to arrive this year,” said the Minister.

The first C-130H aircraft out of five should be received by Poland by the end of 2021, and the last one in mid-2024. They will enter the 14th Transport Squadron of the 33rd Transport Aviation Base (33. Bazie Lotnictwa Transportowego) of the Polish Air Force in Povidze, where they will replace the currently operated four old C-130E Hercules aircraft built in the early 1970s.  

The delivered C-130H aircraft will undergo additional equipment with the installation of a certain amount of modern equipment at the 2nd aircraft repair plant (Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze No. 2) in Bydgoszcz under a separate contract.

The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. The C-130 operates throughout the U.S. Air Force, fulfilling a wide range of operational missions in both peace and war situations. Basic and specialized versions of the aircraft airframe perform a diverse number of roles, including airlift support, Antarctic ice resupply, aeromedical missions, weather reconnaissance, aerial spray missions, firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service and natural disaster relief missions.