Former Belgian C-130H Hercules takes flight from Melsbroek Air Base in Pakistan Air Force colours


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New Delhi: The Belgian Air Force’s former C-130H Hercules took flight in Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) colours for the first time on 25 July, 2022, reported Key.Aero magazine.

The aircraft, with the serial number CH-12, flew in PAF’s colours from Melsbroek Air Base in Belgium, located across Brussels Airport. This is first in a consignment of seven refurbished C-130H’s which are supposed to be delivered to the PAF.

The aircraft now carries a new registration, in accordance with its new PAF serial number. The flight on 25 July, was reportedly its first post-overhaul.

The C-130 H are tactical transport aircraft. Belgium decommissioned its C-130s in December 2021 and replaced them with Airbus A 400Ms.

After decommissioning the C-130H’s, Belgium sold seven remaining ones to a consortium led by Sabena Aerospace and Blue Aerospace, which then sold them to PAF.

Sabena Aerospace has been a service centre for the Hercules since 1977, and was tasked with overhauling and refurbishing the aircraft. Blue Aerospace was responsible for the marketing and management of the deal to PAF.

This specific aircraft, the CH-12, was delivered to the Belgian Air Force on 2 April, 1973, and flew for the last time for Belgium on 20 December, 2021, added the Key.Aero article.

The 6 remaining C-130H Hercules expected to fly in PAF colours are CH-01 (4455), CH-04 (4467), CH-05 (4470), CH-07 (4476), CH-09(4479), and CH-11(4482).

However, renowned Pakistani military expert Ayesha Siddiqa, author of Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, raised questions on “how much was paid” for such a deal.


Also read: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to open first overseas marketing office in Malaysia for LCA Tejas

C-130H — one aircraft, many roles

The C-130H Hercules are four-engine, turboprop, military transport aircraft, designed and manufactured by the American defence conglomerate Lockheed Martin.

The Hercules has been in service for over five decades with the US Air Force — its first flight was in 1954.

According to the US Air Force, “The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical portion of the airlift mission. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas. The C-130 operates throughout the US Air Force.”

Enabled with an aft-loading ramp and door, the Hercules can transport a wide variety of cargo, including helicopters, six-wheel armoured vehicles, standard cargo, and personnel. It can also airdrop loads up to 42,000 pounds and land and take off from rough and dirt strips.

“The flexible design of the Hercules enables it to be configured for many different missions, allowing one aircraft to perform the role of many,” adds the US Air Force.

(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)

Also read: ‘Nerves of steel, exceptional courage’ — tales of valour of Army, IAF heroes honoured on I-Day


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