Another C-130J “Shimshon” landed in Nevatim Airbase last week and joined the IAF. The new plane is equipped with self-defense systems and will help to “enhance aerial support provided for ground and aerial units”
An additional C-130J airplane has joined the “Elephants” squadron as it landed in Nevatim Airbase in Southern Israel last week. Over a year after the arrival of the newest heavy transport airplanes, the squadron keeps on developing, receiving another airplane straight from the USA. “The new aircraft brings new capabilities with it which we didn’t possess before”, says Lt. Col. Uri, commander of the “Elephants” squadron. “The plane is installed with new, unique systems to help us carry out our missions in the best and safest way”.
“With the new airplane, we would be able to enhance aerial support we provide for ground and aerial units”, explains Major Sagi, the squadron’s deputy commander.”The plane also carries self-defense systems which make it even more relevant in the battlefield”.
During the last 18 months, the squadron has made considerable progress and had been busy building up flight teams and preparing for operational activation. The squadron’s aircraft have also taken part in major aerial-ground training exercises in the meanwhile. “Since the arrival of the first plane, we managed to fully train initial teams and we now have a number of teams capable of flying the aircraft”, says Lt. Col. Uri. “We have developed new training programs and flight methods, established a new technical division and prepared for an operational review that was held last March. Another significant event was the assistance provided in Nepal, following the earthquake in the region – two C-130Js were flown to the center of the disaster, carrying IDF aid mission”.
Improving Old Aircraft While Acquiring New One
The Israeli “Shimshon” is installed with the most advanced systems. It is a modern and computerized airplane. “The plane also holds an advanced maintenance system which visualizes everything that is going on in the plane’s mechanics”, says Major Roee Maymon, a technical officer in the “Elephant” squadron. “Everything is newer, from the computerized cockpit to the strong engines which enables us to fly faster, to the large space in the aircraft where the loading inspectors work”.
Lt. Col. Uri said: “After many years of operating the old C-130s, many countries have decided to take the path marked by the US Air Force and improve their old airplanes so they could keep on using them. The IAF has decided to purchase a new model and simultaneously improve some of its older C-130s”.