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UK notes ‘considerable interest' in soon-to-be-surplus Hercules airlifters

With the UK set to retire its remaining 14 Hercules airlifters on 31 March 2023, the MoD told Janes that considerable interest has been received in the fleet form a wide range of parties. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The United Kingdom has received “considerable interest” in its fleet of soon-to-be-retired Lockheed Martin C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules airlifters.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told Janes on 19 January that the sales campaign being run for the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) one remaining short-bodied C-130J C5 and 13 long-bodied C-130J-30 C4 variant Hercules airlifters has attracted a wide range of potential buyers.

“The situation on C-130J sales is that [the Defence Equipment Sales Authority] DESA continues to lead on a very active sales campaign with considerable interest being expressed by a wide range of interested parties,” the MoD said.

As announced in the 2021 Defence Command Paper, the RAF's remaining Hercules fleet is to be prematurely retired on 31 March 2023. According to the MoD, the 14 aircraft “will be withdrawn from service in accordance with a draw-down plan that maintains an agreed level of operational capability up to the out of service date [OSD]”. However, the ministry noted to Janes that, as part of this plan, aircraft will be retired if they are required to enter maintenance that would offer no return on investment, such as if the maintenance activity would not facilitate a return of the aircraft to the active fleet prior to OSD.

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