Finally, the Colombian Air Force received the last 2 of the 3 C-130H Hercules transport aircraft donated and decommissioned by the US Air Force, on August 3
The first C-130 was received on October 6, 2020. This is the result of a bilateral agreement between Colombia and the US signed in 2018, under the Defense Surplus Items Sales Program (EDA), for about 30 million dollars. The delivery marks an important milestone, helping Colombia strengthen its territorial control capabilities and its ability to deploy troops on the territory.
The C-130 is one of the few oldest aircraft in the world still in production. Taking off for the first time on August 23, 1954, these planes have been produced steadily for more than half a century without interruption, and Lockheed Martin has no intention of replacing them with another model. Of course, over the years the C-130 Hercules has improved so much, more than 50 different versions have been produced. The aircraft has retained its distinctive appearance throughout its development history.
The C-130 Hercules was designed for the US Air Force to replace the obsolete C-46, C-47 and C-119. The Korean War showed that actual combat conditions had changed significantly from before, and new weapons and equipment had to be adjusted accordingly. The most important requirements for the new aircraft were to be able to take off from makeshift airfields. C-130 is equipped with 4 Allison T56 turboprop engines, with a capacity of 4,590 horsepower each, a maximum speed of 592 km/h, a cruise speed of 540 km/h, and a range of 3,800 km.
The C-130 has a length of 29.8 m, a wingspan of 40.4 m, a height of 11.6 m, an empty weight of 34 tons, and a maximum takeoff weight of 70 tons. It can carry a cargo load of 20 tons. There are many versions of the C-130 that are used in many fields. In addition to its main purpose as a military transport aircraft, it has also evolved into variants of aerial refueling aircraft, fire fighting aircraft, naval rescue, electronic reconnaissance and command center, even bombers and passenger planes.
A total of more than 2,500 C-130s were produced, about half were delivered and sold to other countries. About 65 countries are using this aircraft, and the demand for Hercules remains unchanged, there are always new orders. In 1963, the C-130 Hercules set the record for being the heaviest and largest aircraft ever to land and take off from an aircraft carrier.
The new Colombian C-130s are equipped with defensive systems -chaff and flare countermeasure dispensers-, becoming the first Colombian Hercules with this capacity. The Hercules will undergo major scheduled maintenance work to prolong its service life. Some of the upgrades include: replacing all analog devices with liquid crystal displays and modernizing communications and navigation equipment, which reduces the failure rate, due to its high reliability.
The Colombian air force will customize the aircraft over the coming months to meet the country’s specific needs, but adding it to the fleet improves readiness for a range of potential future missions, from disaster relief to humanitarian assistance to security operations.