AirAsia Pacific

Taiwan to Upgrade C-130 Hercules Transport Aircraft Fleet

The Taiwanese Air Force has unveiled plans to spend billions of New Taiwan dollars in modernizing its fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Starting next year, 19 of the Lockheed Martin-manufactured planes will have new integrated cockpit interfaces, as well as enhanced global positioning and collision avoidance systems.

There will also be upgrades to the aircraft’s chassis to ensure it can fully support a variety of military missions.

In addition, the Hercules will reportedly receive modern communication systems and new counter-electronic warfare equipment.

If approved, the C-130 fleet upgrade will cost an estimated 10 billion New Taiwan dollars ($309 million) and could run through 2030.

Delayed Effort

The Taiwanese Air Force bought 20 C-130s from the US in the early 1980s to carry out troop and cargo transport.

However, the service lost one in a 1997 crash at Taipei Songshan Airport.

Dubbed the “workhorse” of the US military, the Hercules is powered by four T-56-A-15 turboprop engines and can carry up to 44,000 pounds (19,958 kilograms) of payload.

It has an operational range of 2,000 miles (3,218 kilometers) and can fly at speeds reaching 400 miles (643 kilometers) per hour.

The transport plane plays a critical role in the country’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, transporting aircraft parts to eastern Taiwan where it is difficult to be targeted.

Taipei has long planned to modernize the fleet but this has been delayed because of other priorities, according to military sources.

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