Home Air Poland snatches five surplus C-130H transport aircraft from the US

Poland snatches five surplus C-130H transport aircraft from the US

C-130 Hercules
US Air Force file photo of a C-130 Hercules aircraft

Poland will be buying five retired US Air Force C-130H transport aircraft, the Polish defense ministry announced on April 14.

The purchase agreement, which was organized under the United States Excess Defense Articles program under which the Pentagon transfers excess defense equipment to foreign governments or international organizations, was signed on April 12.

The first of the five airframes would be delivered to Poland this year, after undergoing necessary refurbishment. The aircraft have been sitting at a boneyard since being decommissioned from the US Air Force in 2017, according to the defense ministry.

It is worth noting that Poland already operates five former US Air Force C-130E transports. With a service age of 36 years, the new transports are around 15 years younger than the initial batch of aircraft that were delivered between 2009 and 2012.

Mariusz Błaszczak, the country’s defense minister, said the new aircraft would be stationed at the 33rd Air Base (Polish: 33. Baza Lotnicza) near Powidz. He added that the C-130Hs would boost the Polish Air Force’s transport capacity.

The US Air Force continues to operate the C-130H even as the type is gradually being replaced by the more modern C-130J. In February 2020, the service awarded L3Harris close to $500 million for avionics upgrades for 176 Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard transports as part of the C-130H Avionics Modernization Program.

Those C-130H that will not be upgraded are being retired and transferred to international partners under the EDA program. Last year, the Colombian Air Force received the first of three former USAF Hercules after buying them in 2018.