The urgent need for transport aircraft has led the Greek government to request the immediate supply of six used Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, according to the country’s press.
Recent reports indicate that only one of the nine C-130 Hercules freighters of the Hellenic Air Force is in operational condition. The situation of the fleet of Alenia C-27 Spartan turboprops is also worrying, as only three of the eight aircraft in the country would be available.
The lack of transport aircraft in Greece has been evident in recent days. Last week, a Hercules suffered a breakdown in flight and had to return to Elefsina. The aircraft was heading towards Turkey with a team of rescuers and humanitarian aid for the victims of the earthquake that recently hit the central and southern regions of the country.
In order to solve the problem as soon as possible, the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriákos Mitsotakis, would have decided to immediately purchase second-hand aircraft while evaluating a future order.
Although there is still no official confirmation from the Greek Air Force, the local press speculates that the six C-130Js intended by the country will be acquired from stockpiles in Italy. The Hercules in service in Greece are the C-130B and C-130H versions, delivered to the country from 1975 onwards.
Greece is also studying a new order
Greece’s urgent decision to purchase used Hercules freighters currently rules out the possibility of the country negotiating the purchase of Embraer’s C-390 Millennium jets.
At the end of January, the Greek Ministry of Defense confirmed that representatives of the Hellenic Air Force had met with a team from Embraer Defense and Security. At the meeting, the Greeks requested information about the capabilities of the C-390.
Greece’s plan to renew its fleet of tactical transport aircraft has been in the works for some time. In 2022, the country showed interest in acquiring second-hand C-130J Super Hercules freighters from the United Kingdom air force (RAF), which intends to decommission the aircraft of the type by March 2023.