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THE AIRFORCE - AIRCRAFT - C-130B/BZ HERCULES
 
 

Aircraft Stats:

Powerplant: 4 x 4,050 shp Allison T56-A-15 turboprops
Speed: 579 kph, 322mph mph
Range: 7 803km, 4,850miles
Seats: 4+90
Length: 29.78m, 97ft 9in
Span: 40.41m, 7ft 7in
Empty Weight: 33 684kg, 74,262lb
Max T/O Weight: 70 308kg, 155,000lb
Period of Service: 1963 - Current

Weapons:
None specified

Squadrons:
28 Squadron

Attrition:
3 incidents recorded

C-130B/BZ Hercules

Status: Current
Manufacturer: Lockheed
Country of Manufacture: United States
Role: Medium transport
 
Description:

The SAAF C-130 fleet consists of seven platforms (401 - 407) purchased in 1963 before a US arms embargo was imposed on South Africa's apartheid government and five received in 1997/8 from the US (two ex-USAF C-130B's (408 and 409) and three ex-USN C-130F's (410 - 412)) as part of their Excess Defence Articles programme.

The two ex-US C-130B 's and a C-130F (411) were subsequently put in service, but the C-130F was retired soon thereafter.  

Various modifications have been accomplished on the original SAAF aircraft, the most significant being:
- Centre wing replacement and outer wing refurbishment from 1969 to 1972 done under the auspices of Lockheed Martin.
- Engine upgrade from Allison T56-A-7 to T56-A-15 during the early 1970's.
- Basic avionic upgrade during the early 1980's.
- Total avionic upgrade under Project Ebb from the late 1990's.

The two ex-USAF C-130B's had already been modified with the fitment of H-model outer wings and a centre wing similalr to that of the other SAAF aircraft.

The nine-strong fleet underwent a major refit from December 1996, when Marshall Aerospace of Cambridge in the UK and Denel was contracted to upgrade the aircraft as part of Project Ebb, fitting inter-alia digital avionics in the place of the electromechanical. The upgrade was not without delay and infighting between Marshalls and Denel and ran at least three years over its expected date of completion, set for June 2002.  The project was finalised in July 2009.  

The fate of one of the aircraft (402) is still in dispute. Its brakes caught fire during a landing after a test flight in early 2005 at the then-Johannesburg International Airport. Damage estimated in the millions of rand was inflicted on the aircraft and an equally damaging dispute then erupted between Denel and Marshalls as to whom had to carry the cost of the repairs. Another aircraft was also damaged while undergoing testing after upgrading - its fuel tanks were over-pressurised.


Images:

C130B 406 visiting Marshalls at Cambridge, UK. C130B 406 visiting Marshalls at Cambridge, UK. C-130B Hercules at Cape Verde or Canarias in October 1965, covering the delivery flight of the first Buccaneers to South Africa. Line-up of C-130Bs of 28 Squadron at AFB Waterkloof in 1966.