The Albanese Government, the federal executive government of Australia, has announced it will purchase 20 new C-130J Hercules aircraft at a cost of $9.8 billion. The aircraft will be used by the Royal Australian Air Force and will replace and expand upon the 12 Hercules aircraft currently in operation.
The first C-130J Hercules is expected to go into operation from late 2027 and will continue to be operated by No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond in NSW.
Iconic defence aircraft
The C-130J has been involved in almost every major defence operation in recent decades and is used for the deployment of personnel, equipment and humanitarian supplies. The iconic aircraft is regularly used in search and rescue missions, disaster relief and medical evacuation.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP, commented, “The C-130J Hercules is an important capability for our defence force, but also for Australia as a nation.
“From bushfire and flood emergencies across the country, the delivery of crucial supplies to the region during the COVID-19 pandemic and more than two decades supporting peacekeeping operations, this has and will continue to be a crucial asset.
“The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring the ADF is equipped with the capabilities it needs to keep Australians safe, and this targeted expansion of the fleet size will do just that.”
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP, added, “The Government is ensuring the Australian Defence Force is equipped with brand new C-130J Hercules aircraft, and more of them, to respond to the wide range of challenges our nation will face in the future.
“Having 20 aircraft, up from 12, will mean more opportunities for local industry to sustain the aircraft, creating more Australian jobs. There’ll also be jobs associated with infrastructure redevelopments at RAAF Base Richmond.”
The C-130J Hercules are made by Lockheed Martin and are being purchased from the USA.
Image: Ryan – stock.adobe.com