The Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s No. 130 Air Engineering Depot has successfully overhauled its 50th Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
In a ceremony, the PAF Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Sohail Aman noted that the C-130 is an integral component of the PAF fleet and that it had also served in the country’s counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Notes & Comments:
The PAF operates 5 C-130B and 11 C-130E. The Hercules is the PAF’s mainstay cargo and utility transport aircraft since the 1960s, resulting in an operational history of more than 50 years.
In March 2014, the PAF requested a service life-extension plan (SLEP) for the aircraft from the U.S., which was valued at up to U.S. $100 million. The SLEP comprises of “avionics upgrades, engine management and mechanical upgrades, cargo delivery system installation and [for six aircraft] replacement of outer wing sets.” In January 2016, the PAF issued a $30.7 million contract for new avionics suites for the 16 C-130B/Es.
Besides transport tasks, the PAF had also used the C-130 in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions over FATA. The PAF integrated a FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE III electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) pod and BRITE Star II laser designator to the C-130’s nose, and configured a command suite in the cargo area to coordinate the C-130’s ISR tasks with the PAF’s F-16s, with the latter relying on the C-130 to guide (via the BRITE Star II) Paveway laser-guided bombs (LGB).