DND gives ‘green light’ to acquire 3 new transport planes

By Priam Nepomuceno

October 17, 2023, 3:49 pm

MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Tuesday said it has issued the Notice to Proceed for the acquisition of three brand-new Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 “Super Hercules” aircraft that will greatly enhance the Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s tactical and transport capabilities.

“The acquisition started in 2021, as part of the Second Horizon of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program. The project was awarded to Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace, arms defense, information security, and technology corporation,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

The first C-130J is scheduled to be delivered in July 2026 and the second one in October of the same year.

Meanwhile, the delivery of the third plane is in January 2027.

Defense observers said the contract for the three aircraft is worth PHP22.2 billion.

“The additional cargo space of the C-130J-30, coupled with the reliability of C-130 aircraft we have in our current fleet, will provide our Air Force with greater operational flexibility,” Andolong said.

He added that these features of the C-130 aircraft will allow the PAF to meet the demands of the AFP’s tactical missions more effectively.

Andolong said the PAF has a mixed fleet of C-130s which are vital for supporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and military operations.

“The addition of the C-130J-30 to the inventory is a significant leap forward in terms of achieving a credible defense posture,” he added.

The C-130J is the newest variant of the venerable C-130 that is equipped with new engines, flight deck and other systems.

It is capable of transporting 92 to 128 passengers and has a maximum allowable load of 40,000.

The C-130J has a maximum speed of 362 knots (417 miles per hour) and a range of 1,800 nautical miles (2,100 miles) and a service ceiling of 28,000 feet. (PNA)