Turkey Buying Used Saudi C-130E Hercules Planes
Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review reports that the US State Department has approved the resale of 6 Saudi C-130E Hercules medium tactical transport planes to Turkey, green-lighting a deal that was struck in summer 2010. Under US law and the terms of its arms sales, State Department approval is required when reselling any American defense items to 3rd countries.
Turkey is reportedly buying the planes at a bargain price.
Specifics were not given, but the figure is described as “below $10 million per plane.” That compares to around $70 million for a new C-130J, but the last C-130E rolled off the assembly line decades ago. Saudi planes are likely to have comparatively low flight-hours, compared to other C-130E fleets, which should give the TuAF several years of service as they wait for other projects to deliver. One issue involves the refurbishment and avionics modernization of the TuAF’s existing 13 C-130 planes (7 C-130E, 6 C-130B). Other countries like Sweden have already taken these steps, but Turkey’s C-130 “Erciyes” program, which began in 2006, is delayed. Meanwhile, the TuAF’s 10 contracted Airbus A400Ms, which were supposed to begin picking up the load for its 19 retiring C-160 tactical transports, will be several years late. Hence this interim buy.
Saudi Arabia operates 30 regular C-130E/H models, a number of specialty variants, and 6 stretched civilian L-100-30 counterparts. According to Aviation Week’s 2009 database, however, only 3 of the L-100s were still flying. Scramble’s databases suggest that Turkey may be receiving all of the Saudi’s flyable C-130Es.