Air Transportation: C-130H For Sale Cheap, Suspicions Included


December 29, 2010: The Philippines military is a big fan of the American C-130 transport. But because of accidents, and heavy use, have a hard time keeping any operational. So it's no surprise that the Philippines Air Force was recently offered a used C-130H, for $34 million. This one had been damaged landing back in the 1990s. It had been repaired, but its former owner, Tunisia, no longer wanted it. This aircraft has been out of service since 1996, but had been refurbished over the last three years. There are questions about how well it was put back together, and whether or not there are bribes involved in obtaining it. Meanwhile, Tunisia has been buying newer C-130s, including the latest J model.

Currently, the Philippines Air Force has two operational C-130s, and six in storage (awaiting repairs or refurbishment). They also have two F-27 Fokker transports, but they are heavily used, and can only carry half as many troops (the C-130 can carry 92 troops or 20 tons of cargo). With a sudden increase in military operations in the Moslem south over the last two years, sending new troops down there by ship simply takes too long. So the Filipinos are doing what most other nations (including the United States) end up doing, and chartering commercial aircraft to move the troops.

But arranging for commercial flights takes time, and in the long run is more expensive than using your own aircraft. That has kept alive efforts to obtain smaller transports, either one or two engine. But nothing can replace a C-130.


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