Lockheed C-130H Hercules
Four engine transport aircraft
In 1970 the Belgian Air Force ordered twelve Lockheed C-130H Hercules (type 382C-25D) transport aircraft to replacement its sizeable fleet of Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcars. The Hercules aircraft were delivered from mid 1972 onwards to Melsbroek based N° 20 Squadron of the 15th Wing. During the first years of operation the aircraft wore a 'Vietnam'-style camouflage scheme which later on gave way for an overall grey. In 1990 a 'Mid-Life Improvement Programme' was started, a programme that included replacement of the outer wings (from engine N°2 and N°3 outwards) in phase 1, the installation of a self-protection suite and a complete new 'glass' cockpit with advanced avionics in phase 2. Belgian Air Force C-130's have proven their value during numerous humanitarian deployments, in which several missions, considered impossible by some, were successfully completed. The Lockheed C-130H Hercules is earmarked to be replaced by the all new Airbus Military A-400M, but considerable delays in this multi-nation project has postponed their entry into service so that the Belgian "Hercs" will be around for at least another decade.