As part of the Government’s commitment to strengthen the Canadian Forces, the Department of National Defence has acquired 17 new CC-130J Hercules aircraft to strengthen and revitalize the Canadian Forces’ vital tactical airlift capabilities.
The familiar CC-130 Hercules is a mainstay of the Canadian Forces’ transport fleet. E and H models of this rugged and versatile aircraft have served the Canadian Forces since the early 1960s. As part of the Canada First Defence Strategy, renewing the tactical airlift fleet is a priority of the Government of Canada, and its commitment to a modernized and strengthened Canadian Forces, enabling troops to conduct safer and more effective operations at home and abroad.
Acquiring and Sustaining the CC-130J Hercules fleet
Following the announcement by the Government in June 2006 to procure new tactical aircraft, a solicitation of interest and qualification was used to ensure a fair, open, and transparent procurement process. The contract to purchase 17 C-130J Hercules aircraft was awarded to Lockheed Martin Corporation in December 2007, with an approximate value of US$1.4 billion. The Canadian Forces welcomed its first two CC-130J Hercules in June 2010 – six months ahead of the initial contact delivery schedule. Since then, our CC-130Js have spanned the country and the globe supporting Canadian Forces operations. The Canadian Forces (CF) welcomed the seventeenth and final CC-130J Hercules tactical aircraft into service on May 11, 2012, on-budget and ahead of the contractual delivery due date.
In January 2010, the Government of Canada announced that it had signed a CAN$723 million contract amendment with Lockheed Martin Corporation for in-service support to maintain the new fleet, for a period ending June 30, 2016. The amendment also includes mechanisms to extend this maintenance support for the full life cycle of the aircraft, ensuring Canada can continue to reliably maintain its tactical airlift capability.
Fleet history - Operations at home and abroad
The CC-130 Hercules are the workhorse of the Canadian Forces’ transport fleet. The current fleet of CC-130s continues to be the Canadian Forces’ primary aircraft for tactical airlift, tactical air-to-air refuelling, and fixed-wing search and rescue. The Canadian Forces now operates 33 Hercules aircraft: 3 E-models dating from 1964 to 1968, 13 H-models dating from 1973 to 1992 and 17 new J-models.
The CC-130 Hercules is capable of short takeoffs and landings on unprepared runways, making it an ideal aircraft for responding to situations on almost any terrain and under the most challenging weather conditions. It can also transport troops and equipment in support of humanitarian aid operations conducted by the Canadian Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).
Across Canada, the new CC-130J Hercules fleet has already actively participated in a number of operations and joint exercises including assisting in the evacuation of Canadians from forest fires in the summer of 2011. In addition, September 2011 marked the first time that the annual resupply mission to Canadian Forces Station Alert in the Arctic (Operation BOXTOP) was carried out solely by the CC-130J.
In response to the earthquake in Haiti that occurred on January 12, 2010, CC-130 Hercules were used in support of Operation HESTIA, the Canadian Forces contribution to Canada’s humanitarian aid effort. CC-130 Hercules carried equipment, humanitarian supplies, and military and civilian personnel into the devastated country. They were also used to transport Canadian citizens back to Canada in the first few weeks following the earthquake.
The CC-130 Hercules have been serving in Southwest Asia since January 2002, when three Hercules deployed to the Persian Gulf with flight crews and ground staff as the Tactical Airlift Detachment. By the end of Operation APOLLO, Canada's military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism from October 2001 to October 2003, these aircraft had transported some 6,000 passengers and more than 6.8 million kilograms of freight to destinations in the theatre of operations, including Afghanistan. The close-out of OP ATHENA last November also brought to an end ten years of continuous CC-130 Hercules operations in Afghanistan. The final Hercules aircraft that departed Afghanistan was a CC-130J and this aircraft became the first RCAF CC-130J to complete an around-the-world flight through India, followed by visits to South-East Asia, and the Pacific. The CC-130 Hercules also played a significant role in Operation MOBILE, Canada’s contribution to the NATO-led mission to protect the people of Libya.
Since the delivery of the first CC-130J Hercules aircraft on June 4, 2010, the fleet has logged more than 5,800 hours of flight time in service to Canadians at home and abroad, which is a testament to the dedication of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force as well as to the impressive capabilities and reliability of the aircraft itself.