Monday, January 31, 2011


In August 1990, Iraq’s Air Force had more than 500 aircraft in their inventory. The IqAF was decimated in 1991, after Saddam invaded Kuwait and ended up facing the US military and its allies. What remained was hobbled by extensive, and expensive, no-fly zones, until the war formally concluded in 2003 with a US-led invasion that eliminated Saddam’s regime. Rebuilding the IqAF under the new Iraqi government has been a slow process.
The C-130 Hercules was an early player in Iraq’s rebuilt air force, which remains small and focused on transport and surveillance missions. Positive experiences with the IqAF 23rd Sqn.’s 3 refurbished C-130Es, which fly from Baghdad International Airport, led Iraq to make a formal sale request for new C-130J-30s in July 2008. That was followed by a series of contracts for the planes – and the things that go with them…

Contracts and Key Events

The stretched C-130J-30 is 15 feet longer than its C-130J counterpart, with most of the added fuselage length placed forward of the wing. C-130J-30s can carry 33% more pallets of equipment or supplies, 39% more combat troops, 31% more paratroopers, or 44% more aeromedical evacuation litters than previous unstretched Hercules versions like the IqAF’s C-130Es. The stretched C-130J-30 also shares the redesigned C-130J’s ability to use much more of its theoretical cargo capacity in hot or high altitude environments, a feature that will see a great deal of use in Iraq.
The contracts are issued to Lockheed Martin of Marietta, GA, and managed by the 657th AESS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH.

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