Waiting for Shimshon Shimshon. Get ready to start saying that name more often. It’s the new name that was chosen for the “Karnaf J” plane (Hercules C-130J) expected to arrive to Israel in 2013

Dana Russou and Yuval Shoham

The IAF has been busy for a half a year looking for a Hebrew name for the plane, an upgraded version of the veteran “Karnaf” (Hercules C-130) plane and at the end of the many discussions and arguments, a biblical name was chosen.

“Shimshon is a name of innovation, because it is the Hebrew name of a hero and not an animal or something from nature”, explains Major Alon, second-in-command in the “Bat” squadron from Nevatim IAF base that managed the project of choosing a name. “It was decided because Shimshon is the biblical equivalent to Hercules from mythology, the English name of the plane”.

Other than “Shimshon,” the finalists included “Savage” and “Ox”.

“Until the last minute, the competition was hard and very close”, says Major Alon, “but at the end of the day, we arrived at an agreement and the new name was chosen”.

“The new plane has many advantages over the normal Karnaf (Hercules C-130) plane that the IAF uses today”, said Major Moshe, the officer of the project in the airplanes division. “It has a higher maximum speed, reach farther places, carries a heavier load and reaches a greater maximum height. It can perform various missions better and with fewer planes than what it could in the past”.

Another inherent advantage to the Karnaf J (Hercules C-130J) is its advanced digital computer systems. “This is a substantial change of the foundation. We are passing the old generation of transport planes and jumping forward several generations”, adds Major Moshe. “The world of heavy transport planes has arrived to the year 2011”.

The Hercules C-130J is made by Lockheed Martin and is similar to the structure and appearance of the old Hercules C-130.

Therefore, it is a different plane completely: advanced wiring, electricity, gasoline, aviation, and the system of controlling the wings was changed to a new system and integrated with advanced technology. Throughout the world, 200 planes of this type are in service, including the IAF, USAF, Royal British Airforce, Canadian Air Force, and Australian Air Force.