C-130 Hercules News

RAF to retire remaining C-130 fleet by 2023

March 23, 2021 (by Asif Shamim) - The Royal Air Force is to phase on the remaining C-130J transport fleet by 2023 according to the MoD in a defence paper released March 22nd, 2021.

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RAF C-130J ZH872 (c/n 5456). [RAF & Crown Copyright]

The remaining C.4 & C.5 variants will be withdrawn from service much earlier than planned as the expection was they would continue to fly for another decade. However, the government announced earlier this week that it would cut back its army, navy, and air force as part of a five-year defence review, while funnelling more funding towards other high-tech rearmament.

The C-130 have been used on Special Forces operations in Iraq and Syria and is a jet that many in the military favour for being easy to take off and land in challenging environments, according to Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, who has opposed the removal decision.

"The A400M Atlas force increase its capacity and capability”, the MoD says. The first operator of the “Super Hercules”, the UK has previously withdrawn its short-fuselage C-130Js and has some of the airframes to Bahrain, Bangladesh and one to the US Navy.


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    Additional images:

    RAF C-130J #ZH880 is seen parked on the ramp at Hamburg Airport on September 2, 2014. [Photo by Lars Hentschel]

    RAF C-130J #ZH882 is seen on approach to RAF Brize Norton on October 27, 2017. [Photo by Chris Lofting]

    RAF C-130J #ZH883 seen performing an airdrop. Note the special tail paint scheme of 50 years of Marshall Aerospace support of RAF Hercules fleet. [Photo courtesy of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, photo by oxonimages]