The Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin) C-130 Hercules is one of the most famous aircraft of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), and has been in its inventory for more than 30 years. But with only three (3) operational units in the PAF's service, specifically 2 C-130H model and a single C-130B model, the PAF's transport capability is severely limited to the availability and capacity of these aircraft. The absence of a large and capable fleet of smaller transport aircraft to support the C-130 makes it more difficult for the PAF as the other transport aircraft types of the PAF, the Fokker F-27 and the N-22B Nomad, only have a handful of operational units left for use as well.
The PAF received more than a dozen C-130s, composed of military "B" and "H" models as well as civilian L-100-20 and stretched L-100-30. At least 2 fatally crashed and majority of the fleet have been written-off due to poor maintenance and other reasons by the PAF.
|A PAF C-130H Hercules. The PAF currently only has 3 operational C-130s in its arsenal.|
Photo taken from Airplane-Pictures.net
But hopefully everything will change starting 2014.
MaxDefense sources indicate that besides plans to purchase new light and medium lift aircraft, additional C-130 Hercules heavy tactical transport planes will also be made available to the PAF, and will be sourced from the PAF's boneyard and from its foremost ally, the United States.
For those who passed by the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, you may have seen three parked C-130s on the apron. These three aircraft are currently not operational, and are the only units found by PAF and Lockheed Martin specialists as acceptable for re-commissioning after extensive refurbishment and repair.
|Three C-130s at Mactan-Cebu International Airport apron. These will be refurbished by the PAF.|
Photo taken from Mr. Jake Nelson @ Pinoy Daily Journal.
According to MaxDefense sources, these 3 units (2 C-130B and an L-100 civilian version) will undergo in-house refurbishing and repair similar to what was done last year to C-130B tail no. 3633. It will be done by the PAF's 410th Maintenance Wing although the work might be done in Cebu, not in the wing's Clark Air Base facility. Information given to MaxDefense regarding these 3 C-130s is not yet final though, any may change depending on the situation in the next few months.
|C-130B tail no. 3633 with PAF 410th Maintenance Wing team after completion of in-house refurbishing work.|
Photo from Mr. Thomas Diez' Facebook account as shared in Timawa.net
Another source of additional C-130s will come from Excess Defense Articles (EDA) from the United States. According to MaxDefense sources, the DND and PAF are in talks with the US government to get at least 3 units of "H" models from US EDA stocks. It is also possible for the PAF to acquire additional units besides the 3 being pushed. These 3 aircraft will be refurbished there first before delivery to the PAF, and will be delivered between 2014 and 2015 depending on the deal's immediate approval and the extent of refurbishment.
If all goes according to planned, the PAF will have at least 9 operational C-130s by 2015.
|Commissioning of C-130B tail no. 3633 after in-house refurbishing by PAF's 410th Maintenance Wing at Clark Air Base.|
Photo taken from Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office.
Besides C-130s, MaxDefense also received information that other aircraft types from American EDA stocks are also being eyed for transfer to the Philippine Air Force, either via grant or Foreign Military Sales (FMS), including helicopters, special missions aircraft (for further confirmation) and fighter aircraft.
MaxDefense will update you regarding this topic upon availability of more information.