The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will acquire two more Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” airlift aircraft to add to its existing fleet of five used to transport medical supplies and personnel tasked to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. The cost of acquisition for the two C-130s is PHP2.5 billion. The United States Foreign Military Financing (U.S. FMF) program provides grants and loans for the acquisition of U.S. defense equipment, services, and training.
“Based on our current status reports, one of the C-130s is expected to arrive this month (July) while the other one will arrive before the end of the year. Both have no specific (arrival) dates yet. Cost is PHP2.5 billion. They (C-130s were) co-financed by the Philippines (who contributed PHP1.6 billion) and the US through FMF (Foreign Military Financing) program worth (PHP900 million)” Department of National Defense (DND) spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Thursday.
A Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” can lift about 100 troops or its equivalent weight, a critical asset in transporting immediate relief after disasters even to remote airfields. The entire AFP, the Philippine National Police, and government agencies, especially the Department of Social Welfare and Development, rely on the Air Force in moving people and logistics to different parts of the archipelago. The first was turned over in April 2016. The PAF now has a total of 7 Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” airlift aircraft.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an U.S. four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin). Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft. More than 40 variants of the Hercules, operate in more than 60 nations. The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules currently being produced.