Saturday, July 20, 2024

Australia to sink $9.8 billion into new Hercules aircraft deal

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA

The Australian Government has announced it will purchase 20 new C-130J Hercules aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force at a cost of $9.8 billion.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles says the purchase will provide the Air Force with state of the art C-130 Hercules to meet the air transport needs of the future.

“The C-130J Hercules is an important capability for our defence force, but also for Australia as a nation,” said Mr Marles.

“From bushfire and flood emergencies across the country, the delivery of crucial supplies to the region during the COVID-19 pandemic and more than two decades supporting peacekeeping operations, this has and will continue to be a crucial asset.

“The Albanese Government is committed to ensuring the ADF is equipped with the capabilities it needs to keep Australians safe, and this targeted expansion of the fleet size will do just that.”

The new aircraft will replace and expand upon the 12 Hercules aircraft currently operated by Air Force with delivery of the first aircraft expected from late 2027.

The Australian Defence Force relies on the C-130J Hercules aircraft for the deployment of personnel, equipment and humanitarian supplies. The iconic aircraft is regularly used in search and rescue missions, disaster relief and medical evacuation.

“The Government is ensuring the Australian Defence Force is equipped with brand new C-130J Hercules aircraft, and more of them, to respond to the wide range of challenges our nation will face in the future,” said Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy.

“Since 1999, the C-130J Hercules has served Australia across our region and beyond, proving to be a reliable workhorse in roles from humanitarian operations to conflict zones.

“Having 20 aircraft, up from 12, will mean more opportunities for local industry to sustain the aircraft, creating more Australian jobs. There’ll also be jobs associated with infrastructure redevelopments at RAAF Base Richmond.”

The C-130J has been involved in almost every major Defence operation in recent decades, from Bougainville assistance and Timor-Leste peacekeeping through to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently the aircraft supported Australia’s response to COVID-19 in the region, delivering vaccines and medical supplies, as well bushfire and flood response.

The C-130J Hercules are made by Lockheed Martin and are being purchased from the United States. The aircraft will continue to be operated by No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond in NSW.

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