IAF to receive the first C-130 J aircraft next month
|The Indian Air Force (IAF) will formally induct its first C-130 J ”Hercules” transport aircraft on February 5 this year. The first of the six aircraft procured by India under a $ 1.2 billion million deal was handed over to IAF in mid-December.|
A unique C-130 J configuration modified for special mission roles has been offered to the IAF by the US and these will enable the IAF fleet for its special operations. The aircraft will be able to perform precision low-level flying, air drops, and landing in blackout conditions. The salient features of the customized c-130 J aircraft will ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environment.
According to sources, IAF pilots will fly the first two C-130J’s to India towards late-January while the next four will come later in 2011. Even as India is moving towards ordering another six C-130J’s, the first six will be based at the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of New Delhi.
The C-130 J ‘Hercules’ is the latest version of Hercules with four powerful engines and greater payload-carrying capacity aimed at enhancing India’s rapid reaction capabilities.
The C-130 J is capable of landing on makeshift airstrips due to its rugged nature. It will be used mainly for covert airlift missions for special forces and it will also be able to swiftly transport combat-ready troops to border areas. In addition, these aircraft will have refuelling probes, advance radar warning receivers and a counter-measures dispensing system for extended range and additional safety.
The C-130 J, by Lockheed Martin, combines the latest in aerospace technology with a proven, rugged airframe design giving greater capability with greater operational efficiency.
The US Air Force has executed this government-to-government deal for India. The USAF is training nine batches of IAF crew of 18 pilots, nine loadmasters and nine combat system operators to fly and operate the aircraft. Five of these batches would complete their training in February. Additionally, nearly 100 maintenance officers and technicians are also being trained in the US at the same.