In a ceremony held today at the Nevatim Israel Air Force base, the new C-130J Super Hercules military aircraft landed in Israel. The new type is designated ‘Samson’ by the Israel Air and Space Force (IASF). This is the first ‘Samson’ C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to join the newly established ‘Samson’ squadron. Five more are scheduled to arrive in the coming years. The three currently being completed or under production will be delivered in July 2014 and over the course of 2015 and 2016. The goal is to provide the IASF with nine such aircraft, augmenting and later replacing the fleet of C-130H currently in service.
“we will be able to operate faster, in all weather conditions, in greater distance, in lower altitude and in maximum discretion”
The new transport aircraft enhances the IASF’s long-range transport and assault capabilities, with missions including airborne cargo delivery, transportation of paratroops and commandos, aerial refueling for helicopters and planes, electronic warfare, maritime patrol and special operations.
According to the Israel Defense Force (IDF) Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, The new aircraft gives the IDF extended operational flexibility and strengthens our long range capabilities, making us more accurate and powerful than ever. The progressive systems the “Samson” aircraft is equipped with will allow us to execute more complex operations than in the past – “we will be able to operate faster, in all weather conditions, in greater distance, in lower altitude and in maximum discretion.” Gantz said.
Over the past year, squadron members have trained in Italy and in the United States in order to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the aircraft and its capabilities. The new aircraft is joining the 103 Squadron already operating the C-130H from Nevatim.
The delivery of the first C-130J is a first milestone in the modernization of the Israel Air Force, Under the current plan the IASF is expecting deliveries of 30 Alenia Aermacchi M346 advanced trainers from Italy over the next two years, six US built Bell-Boeing V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft will be supplied in 2016 and F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters built by Lockheed Martin. The first of the 19 aircraft ordered is expected to arrive in Israel in 2017.