The Philippine Air Force (PAF) formally welcomed one of the two Lockheed C-130H Hercules transportaircraft it has acquired through a grant from the United States government. The C-130H hich came from Tucson, Arizona and had a tail number of 5125, is the first one of the two C-130H aircraft granted by the US government through the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). The aircraft will provide enhanced capability in terms of heavy airlift missions to support the movement of troops and cargoes during territorial defense security and stability and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
The Philippine Air Force vice commander Maj. Gen. Florante M. Amano. said a series of technical inspections by concerned committees and home station checks by flight and maintenance crew would be conducted in the next two weeks. The PAF will then conduct a formal acceptance, turnover, and blessing of the C-130H aircraft at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City. The cost of acquiring the two C-130H aircraft was earlier placed at PHP2.5 billion, with the Philippines contributing PHP1.6 billion and the US about PHP900 million. The US FMF program provides grants and loans for the acquisition of US defense equipment, services, and training.
The Philippine Air Force 222nd Airlift Squadron, which is under the command of the 220th Airlift Wing, currently fields four C-130s – two C-130Ts, one C-130B, and one C-130H – all of which operate from Cebu. The C-130B is expected to be retired in the near future. The 222nd Airlift Squadron will acquire two more Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” cargo 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. Air Force officials welcomed the aircraft in a simple arrival ceremony at the Base Operations. Immediately upon its arrival, PAF rendered a welcome water salute to the aircraft as a customary tradition.
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, 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, including civilian versions marketed as the Lockheed L-100, operate in more than 60 nations.