Dutch Ministry of Defence will replace the current four C-130H Hercules transport aircraft ahead of schedule. The project is now being implemented between 2021 and 2028, with the first planes arriving in 2026. The current aircraft were bought in 1992 (two new) and in 2005 (two used). The oldest is from 1978. Its normal lifespan of 30 years has thus expired. If one of the aircraft fails, the already limited capacity will immediately come under further pressure. Therefore, the simultaneous execution of tasks is now limited. Dutch Ministry of Defence has come to the conclusion that the planned maintenance does not provide the necessary improvement in deployability.
The new aircraft must be able to be used all over the world, even under difficult conditions. The replacement must therefore be able to land on unpaved and short runways. The costs are between â‚¬ 250 million and â‚¬ 1 billion. Dutch Ministry of Defence needs at least 2,400 flight hours per year. An aircraft must be able to transport multiple types of equipment (including ammunition and vehicles) or a minimum of 60 paratroopers. This means that a distance of 2,000 nautical miles can be covered. The aircraft will be provided with self-protection equipment and communication and information facilities for participation in information-led operations.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American 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. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting. It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. More than 40 variants of the Hercules, operate in more than 60 nations.
The C-130H model has updated Allison T56-A-15 turboprops, a redesigned outer wing, updated avionics and other minor improvements. Later H models had a new, fatigue-life-improved, center wing that was retrofitted to many earlier H-models. For structural reasons, some models are required to land with reduced amounts of fuel when carrying heavy cargo, reducing usable range. The H model remains in widespread use with the United States Air Force (USAF) and many foreign air forces. Initial deliveries began in 1964 (to the RNZAF), remaining in production until 1996. The U.S. Coast Guard employs the HC-130H for long-range search and rescue, drug interdiction, illegal migrant patrols, homeland security, and logistics.