Although the first C-130J is not expected to arrive in Israel before 2013, the IAF has already named the new transporter – Samson. Providing Hebrew names to its aircraft is a tradition with the IAF. The actual name represents a change in the tradition – until now IAF planes were named after birds or animals.
Current C-130 models are designated ‘Karnaf’ (Rhino). Others are named after birds of prey (F-16A/B Netz, F-15C/D Baz, E-2C Daya, A-4H Eagle, etc.), serpents (AH-64D Peten, AH-1 Zefa) or mamals (Boeing 707 Reem). Two of the most recent were Marine birds – Eitam and Nachshon. The later can also be attributed to a biblical hero, but Samson represents a precedence, being called after a Biblical hero rather than an animals. There were some exceptions to this tradition, with the – many of the latest strike fighters to join the IAF were called after weather phenomena – F-16C/D Barak, F-15I Raam and F-16I Sufa while the F-4E Phantom was named Kurnas – one of a few aircraft named after a tools (Sledgehammer).