Philippine Air Force nearing reception of three C-130J Super Hercules

On December 11, 2023, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) achieved a major milestone by releasing the second payment for the acquisition of three C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft. The project, initially planned for five aircraft, was reduced to three units, as part of the modernization of the PAF.

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Philippine Air Force modernizes fleet with new C 130J 30 Super Hercules 925   Philippine Air Force (PAF) will acquire three new C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)

The initial budget of 37 billion pesos (approximately $740 million) was adjusted to 22.2 billion pesos (approximately $444 million) to optimize resources. Lockheed Martin won the contract, including three C-130J-30 Super Hercules.

The release of the second milestone payment, worth 3.33 billion pesos (approximately $66.6 million), confirms the commitment to the project. Deliveries are planned between July 2026 and January 2027.

This acquisition significantly strengthens the PAF's airlift capacity, marking a critical milestone for national security.

The C-130J-30 Super Hercules, a modernized and stretched version of the C-130 Hercules, is renowned for its superior tactical transport capabilities. This model offers a 15-foot (approximately 5-meters) longer cargo bay than the standard C-130J, allowing for increased transport capacity. With this expansion, the C-130J-30 can carry a wider variety of cargo, including military hardware, vehicles, and equipment for humanitarian and disaster relief missions.

In terms of performance, the C-130J-30 Super Hercules is equipped with four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines, giving it superior power and efficiency, particularly during takeoffs and landings on short or unprepared runways. It also has better range and extended flight capability compared to its predecessors, thanks to improvements in aerodynamics and fuel consumption. These improvements make it ideal for operations in harsh conditions and demanding environments, such as military transport, emergency relief, and humanitarian aid missions.