Aerial Warfare

Philippine Air Force Receives C-130H Hercules Transport Aircraft From United States

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Philippine Air Force Receives C-130H Hercules Transport Aircraft From United States

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Philippine Air Force Receives C-130H Hercules Transport Aircraft From US
Philippine Air Force Receives C-130H Hercules Transport Aircraft From US

The Philippine Air Force has received a new C-130H cargo plane from the United States. The transport aircraft, which made its journey from Waco, Texas, to the Clark Air Base in Mabalacat, Pampanga, was piloted by a US aircrew and greeted upon arrival with a ceremonial water cannon salute. This delivery marks the second cargo plane provided by the US government to the Philippines under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) framework. Through this program, surplus assets from the US military are transferred to bolster the capabilities of partner nations, either through foreign military sales or donations. Such acquisitions allow for the modernization of allied forces at reduced costs, with the condition of the equipment factoring into pricing.

While a formal turnover and acceptance ceremony for the aircraft are anticipated to take place in February or March, the Philippines is already looking ahead with its acquisition plans. Following the announcement in October 2023 of the procurement of three new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the US, the Philippine defense ministry affirmed its commitment to enhancing its fleet of large transport aircraft. The Philippine Air Force currently operates four C-130 planes, an older version of the airlifter This acquisition, part of the country’s ongoing military modernization efforts, reflects its strategic response to regional security challenges, particularly amidst heightened tensions in the South China Sea.

The Philippine Air Force welcomed its new C-130H tactical transport aircraft with a water cannon salute as it landed at the Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga, on February 16, 2024.
The Philippine Air Force welcomed its new C-130H tactical transport aircraft with a water cannon salute as it landed at the Clark Air Base, Mabalacat City, Pampanga, on February 16, 2024. (Photo by Philippine Air Force)

With the new C-130J-30 Super Hercules planes set to nearly double the existing fleet, the Philippines aims to bolster its defense posture and logistical capabilities significantly. Lockheed Martin has been entrusted with the delivery of two of the aircraft in 2026, with the third scheduled for January 2027. Described as an “affordable” and “stretch version” of the C-130J, these aircraft offer increased payload capacity, enabling the transport of up to 128 combat troops or 92 paratroopers each. This strategic acquisition underscores the ongoing cooperation between the US and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region to address shared security concerns. As the Philippine Air Force continues to modernize its fleet, it signals a proactive stance in safeguarding its territorial integrity and addressing internal security challenges.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is an American four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built 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 C-130 entered service with the U.S. in 1956, followed by Australia and many other nations. 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. The C-130 is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at more than 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules being produced as of 2023.

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