Australia’s New and Expanded C-130J Fleet


Image credit: Lockheed Martin.

The federal government will purchase 20 new C-130J Hercules aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force for $9.8 billion.

The new acquisitions 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 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.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles MP said “The C-130J Hercules is an important capability for our defence force, but also for Australia as a nation. 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.”

Warren McDonald, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand said in a statement, “Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand congratulates Defence on its commitment to procure a new and expanded C-130J fleet. These aircraft will add to the 65-year legacy of continuous C-130 operations by Australia. The C-130J has proven its ability to meet all of Australia’s medium air mobility requirements and is an excellent choice to support operations in Northern Australia, the importance of which was highlighted in the Defence Strategic Review.”



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