At a ceremony at the Nevatim Air Base in the Negev, Israeli defense officials inaugurated the long-awaited new Samson C-130J Super Hercules aircraft into service, expanding the Israeli Air Force’s (IAF) range and capabilities.
The Lockheed Martin C-130J, known as the “Super Hercules” in the U.S. – and named “Samson” by Israel after Shimshon Hagibor – has a range of up to 4,000 kilometers and will be equipped with advanced new computer systems and significantly more payload capacity.
The C-130J enhances the IAF’s “long-range capabilities which include airborne supply, transportation of troops and cargo, aerial refueling for helicopters and planes, electronic warfare, maritime patrol and special operations,” according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson’s Unit.
“Today we mark a new peak in the IDF’s capabilities,” IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said.
“Over its 50 years of service, Hercules planes took part in military aid missions, civilian, and humanitarian operations. The ‘Samson’ aircraft joining the IAF today is an innovative and revolutionary addition to our forces,” Gantz added.
Lockheed Martin President and CEO Marilyn Hewson said, “All of us at Lockheed Martin are proud to support the Israel Defense Force in its mission to protect and defend the State of Israel.”