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UK adds Hercules and Sentry to list of surplus military aircraft for sale

The UK has added the remainder of the C-130J Hercules transport fleet to its annual publication of surplus aircraft for sale. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United Kingdom has added both the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW1 to its annual list of surplus military equipment for sale.

The medium-lift and airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft have been listed in the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA) brochure, published in early September.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has one remaining short-bodied C-130J C5 and 13 long-bodied C-130J-30 C4 variant Hercules airlifters that are to be withdrawn from service in 2023. Three remaining operational E-3Ds, as well as another three in various states of disrepair, are slated for retirement in the coming weeks.

With the previous sale of nine of the UK's 10 short-bodied C-130Js having seen nearly all of the platforms snapped up in short order by Bangladesh (5), Bahrain (2), and the US Navy (1), the sale of the long-bodied C-130J-30s is expected to be equally swift. The Ministry of Defence has already launched a centre-wing box (CWB) replacement effort following heavy use in Afghanistan and Iraq over recent decades, and may well decide to see this effort through in order to maximise its potential release value for the aircraft (a decision on this has not yet been announced). While the MoD has not said how much these airframes might sell for, the US Navy recently noted that it paid USD29.9 million for the single C-130J C5 that it acquired from the previous sale, which equated to about half the price of a new aircraft.

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