Jul 23, 2014
India exercises option for six more Hercules transport aircraft
Once delivered, these new aircraft will be based in eastern India.
India received the first of its initial batch of six C-130J-30 aircraft in February 2011, with the remaining five arriving in-country by September of that year. Operated by the specially formed 77 Squadron at Hindon Airbase, near New Delhi, these aircraft are used primarily for special forces operations. In August 2013 a C-130J-30 demonstrated the type's ability to support Indian military operations in the far north of the country when it landed on the world's highest airstrip in the Himalayan Ladakh region bordering China.
With six aircraft already in service, the IAF signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the additional six platforms in December 2013.
The IAF's contract to procure additional C-130J-30 platforms is part of a wider recapitalisation and build-up of India's airlift capability. Over recent years, the country has signed for 10 (and received 8 to date) Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft, and is developing with Russia a tactical twin-engined jet transport aircraft, known as the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA).
Also, the IAF has received 12 Dornier Do-228 light transport aircraft manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and has launched a competition to buy 56 light/medium tactical transport aircraft. The frontrunners for that requirement are the Airbus DS C295 and Alenia Aermacchi C-27J aircraft.