The Philippines Air Force (PAF) has welcomed an additional Lockheed C-130H Hercules to its fleet, after the tactical transport arrived at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on January 29.
The aircraft – serial 5125 – is the first of two refurbished, former-USAF C-130Hs to arrive in the Philippines after the US government approved the acquisition through its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme in March 2019. After it arrived at the base, the new tactical transport was welcomed with a water cannon salute, followed by a small arrival ceremony that was attended by the vice commander of the PAF, Maj Gen Florante M Amano.
Although it was delivered as a C-130H, the aircraft was previously employed by US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) as an MC-130W Combat Spear – serial 87-9284. The aircraft was retired from operational US service on June 13, 2016 and stored with the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis-Monthan AFB's famous boneyard in Arizona. After being removed from storage, its presumed that the platform was de-converted to C-130H standard before being delivered to the PAF.
In a press release, the air arm states that the new C-130Hs “will provide enhanced capability in terms of heavy airlift missions to support movement of troops and cargoes during territorial defence security and stability, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.”
AirForces Intelligence data states that this latest delivery increases the PAF’s operational C-130 fleet to five aircraft. This comprises a single C-130B, two C-130Hs and a pair of C-130Ts. A third C-130H – and second of the aircraft acquired as surplus from the US – is still yet to be delivered to the Philippines.