Sep 17, 2014
UK may retain C-130J Hercules for special forces duties
According RAF Oficcial "there may be a continued need for the C-130J beyond its current planned out of service date of 2022, probably for special forces use".
The RAF currently operates 24 C-130J aircraft out of RAF Brize Norton. With the first of 22 Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M Atlas transport aircraft set to arrive at the base in the coming weeks, the C-130J is due to be withdrawn from service in favour of a joint A400M and Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlift force.
Ther retain of C-130 fleet is in large part dependent on the state of the airframes after more than a decade of intense operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond.
With the possible exception of special forces work, there is no real gap in the tactical capabilities between the C-130J and A400M, nor in the strategic capabilites between the A400M and C-17, and that the introduction into service of the Atlas will significantly enhance the RAF's air mobility capacity.