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ILA 2024: Ukraine resupply surge accelerating European C-130 recapitalisation efforts

A Luftwaffe KC-130J at ILA 2024 in Berlin. Lockheed Martin is seeing an accelerated and expanded interest in the Hercules, given the surge in Ukraine resupply operations over the last two years. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The surge in use of the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules airlifter in resupplying Ukraine over recent years has accelerated the drive among European operators to look to renew their fleets with new aircraft, the manufacturer told Janes on 5 June.

Speaking at the ILA Berlin Air Show, running from 5 to 9 June, director, customer requirements Air Mobility and Maritime Missions and former US Air Force C-130 pilot, Larry Gallogly, said that the C-130 leading the international effort to resupply Ukraine following Russia's renewed invasion in February 2022 has caused many regional users to bring forward and to expand the scope of planned recapitalisation efforts.

β€œWith Ukraine, fleet usage has gone through the roof. This is why some nations are now accelerating the recap of their fleets,” Gallogly said.

European C-130 operators with recapitalisation efforts include Sweden, which is looking to replace its ageing (the oldest in Europe) C-130H aircraft with a new type that could end up being the C-130J, while Finland, which does not currently possess the C-130 or any other comparable fixed-wing medium-lift aircraft, is looking at the C-130J to expand its air mobility capabilities now that it is in NATO, Gallogly said. Greece too has been in substantive talks with Lockheed Martin on the C-130J, he said, while Italy is looking to recapitalise its already existing C-130J fleet with new airframes.

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