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First flying 68 years ago, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine military transport plane that has seen extensive service throughout NATO and other nations around the world and is still in production as the C-130J Super Hercules. In addition to transport, operators of the C-130 have found a variety of different uses for the type. This has included being a gunship armed with artillery cannons, search and rescue, scientific research, aerial refuelling, electronic combat and maritime patrol to name but a few. Whilst the C-130J is still in production and is still receiving new orders, the RAF were the launch customer for this new version of the Hercules in 1995 and will be retiring their last example shortly before this year's Air Tattoo.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force originally acquired a pair of stretched C-130H-30 Hercules in 1992 which were delivered to Eindhoven Air Base. These aircraft were then heavily upgraded and modernised by Marshalls at Cambridge during 2006. At the same time, the RNLAF acquired a pair of retired EC-130Q from the US military which were also converted to C-130H standard and modernised by Marshalls. The RNLAF are currently reviewing options to replace their Hercules fleet and hope to order new aircraft soon prior to the fleet's replacement in 2028.
The RNLAF will be sending one of their C-130H for static display at the Royal International Air Tattoo. The aircraft will be provided by 336 squadron from Eindhoven Air Base. Photo Credit: Rich Cooper