April 2, 2009:
The U.S. is providing Poland with five C-130E "Hercules" transports, and the first one was recently delivered. The last of them will arrive next year. Each was refurbished at a cost of $20 million, and should be good for 12,000 more hours in the air (about 20 years worth of service, with peacetime use rates).
The C-130E is an extended range version of the 1960s era C-130B. Currently, nearly all the 491 C-130Es built are still flying. A U.S. Air Force C-130E passed the 30,000 hours (in the air) mark late last year, the first time this has happened. That C-130 had undergone seven refurbishments since it entered service in the 1960s.
Nearly 2,400 C-130s have been built. The most common version is the C-130H. It has a range of 8,368 kilometers, a top speed of 601 kilometers per hour, and can carry up to 18 tons of cargo, 92 troops, or 64 paratroopers. The latest version, the C-130J, has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C-130H, and can carry 20 tons of cargo. The C-130 has been in service for over half a century, and is used by over 50 countries.