The visit was held in honor of the IAF's purchase of the C-130J Super Hercules, the Air Force's next cargo plane
Commander of the IAF Headquarters Brig. Gen. Hagi Topolansky visited the production lines of the C-130J Super Hercules cargo plane at the Lockheed Martin factory in Atlanta last week. The visit included a presentation of the plane's production line and its simulator, and the plane's advanced technologies and aeronautical capabilities were also put on display in honor of the visit. In a symbolic gesture, Brig. Gen. Topolansky signed the new aircraft.
The IAF is slated to receive its first C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes in May of 2014. The IAF will use this advanced model as a cargo plane – a significant step forward over the C-130H Hercules aircraft currently in use.
"The new plane has many advantages over the normal Karnaf [Hercules C-130] plane that the IAF uses today," Maj. Moshe, the project's officer in the IAF's Airplanes Division, explained last year. "It has a higher maximum speed, can reach a longer range, carries a heavier load, and reaches a greater maximum height. It can perform various missions better and with fewer planes than were needed in the past."
Another advantage of the Karnaf J (Hercules C-130J) is its advanced digital computer systems. "This is a substantial change of the foundation," added Maj. Moshe. "We are passing the old generation of transport planes and jumping forward several generations."
Following its arrival in Israel, the "Shimshon," as the aircraft is known in Hebrew, is expected to join the existing transport squadrons of the IAF, providing them with new capabilities.
The IAF will then transition to a two-seat cockpit, since the new aircraft has no flight engineer. Pilots will also face a significant change. As a result, Hercules pilots will be assigned to either the C-130H or the C-130J model, rather than a single pilot flying both types.