Bangladesh takes delivery of third ex-RAF C-130J

Delivery of the third ex-Royal Air Force (RAF) Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules C5 to the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) was completed on September 17, when it arrived at Bangabandhu air base in Bangladesh.

The aircraft, serial 99-5480/S3-AGG (ex-RAF/ZH882), had departed from the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG) facility in the UK, on September 16, flown by a BAF aircrew led by Group Captain Md Ahsanur Rahman.

After retirement from the RAF, it had been placed in storage at Cambridge pending disposal. It was officially de-registered on June 25, 2019.

Once the sales agreement between Bangladesh and the UK government had concluded, MADG modified and upgraded the aircraft to BAF requirements. Following several test flights from Cambridge, it was delivered via fuel stops in Cairo, Egypt, and Muscat in Oman.

Bangladesh C-130J [Peter Foster]
The third Bangladesh Air Force C-130J Hercules C5, serial 99-5480/S3-AGG (c/n 5480), departs from Cambridge on its delivery flight on September 16. Peter Foster

BAF’s Chief of Air Staff, Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, and British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, Robert Chatterton Dickson, were present at Bangabandhu to welcome the crew.

On arrival the Hercules was greeted with a traditional water cannon salute from the base’s fire brigade. The aircraft joins the first two in service with 101 Squadron at BAF Base Bashar, which already operates four older models, former USAF C-130Bs.

The new C-130Js will be utilised for transportation of cargo and personnel, humanitarian assistance both at home and abroad, and to support UN peacekeeping operations.

A total of five ex-RAF Hercules C5s have now been acquired by the BAF. A government-to-government contract for the first two aircraft was concluded in August 2017, followed by a contract for three more in June 2019.

The first Hercules left Cambridge on August 23, 2019, followed by the second on May 18, 2020. A delivery schedule for the remaining two has yet to be announced.