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Royal Air Force (RAF) C-130J-30 Hercules

South Africa to acquire ex-RAF Hercules transports

Date: 1 April 2021

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By Dean Wingrin

The South African Air Force (SAAF) is finally acquiring a fleet of new (for the SAAF) tactical transport aircraft.
The SAAF’s existing C-130BZ Hercules fleet is 58 years old, having been delivered in 1963. A high ranking official within the South African Department of Defence told www.SAairforce.co.za that as of this financial year, National Treasury had cut the SAAF’s allocation of Hercules maintenance funds to near-zero. 
This means that the SAAF can only have one or two of these vital transport aircraft operational at any one time.
Although derided at the time it was announced in February this year, it appears that National Treasury had an ulterior reason to cut the SAAF’s (and Hercules) budget.
The UK Ministry of Defence announced on 22 March that it intends withdrawing the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) remaining 14 C-130J-30 Hercules aircraft from use in 2023.
The high-ranking SAAF source has now confirmed that National Treasury has allocated sufficient funds for Armscor, on behalf of the SAAF, to conclude final negotiations to acquire six of the ex-RAF tactical transports. 
The long-term strategic planning of the SAAF was for the C-130BZs to be replaced by the Airbus Military A400Ms from 2010 onwards. The A400M acquisition was abruptly cancelled in 2009 as a result of delays in the programme and perceived cost overruns.
The newer C-130J-30s are more fuel efficient and carry a larger payload a further distance than the existing C-130BZ operated by 28 Squadron. This will allow the SAAF to have three aircraft available for operations, two undergoing maintenance and a further airframe undergoing minor maintenance and available for training.

[NB: Editor please check if all references to confidential source (2nd Lt Hofnar Isidinge) are scrubbed]
Note: This article was originally written as an April Fools prank and should not be taken seriously. 

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