Air Transportation: Pacifist C-130s For Indonesia


March 21, 2012: Australia is donating four of its retired C-130H transports to Indonesia. The Australian Air Force was going to sell the four C-130s on the open market but the government decided it would be a better idea to donate them to Indonesia, with the stipulation that the aircraft only be used for humanitarian and disaster relief work. Indonesia is currently dealing with a rebellion in Papua (western New Guinea) and Indonesia has a reputation for being very rough with rebels. Thus the restrictions on the C-130s, to help Australia avoid any future embarrassment (as in, "former Australian C-130s bring Indonesian commandos to Papua to put down rebels"). The four aircraft will require about $25 million worth of refurbishment before entering Indonesian service and should be good for another decade, at least.

Indonesia already has eight C-130H transports and two KC-130B tankers. The most common version of the C-130 still in service is the C-130H. It has a range of 8,368 kilometers, a top speed of 601 kilometers per hour and can carry up to 18 tons of cargo, 92 troops, or 64 paratroopers. The latest version, the C-130J, has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C-130H, and can carry 20 tons of cargo. A stretched version of the C-130J can carry more bulky cargo and goes for $95 million each. The C-130J has 40 percent more range than the C130H, and can carry 20 tons of cargo. The C-130 has been in service for over half a century and has been in the service of over 50 countries.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is buying smaller transports. Nine C295s have been ordered from Spain. This twin engine turboprop, 23 ton aircraft can carry six tons for up to 2,200 kilometers. Top speed is 570 kilometers an hour and max payload is nine tons or 71 troops. Indonesia will receive its first C295 this year and the rest within two years. Twin engine turboprop transports are increasingly popular with military organizations. They are cheaper to buy and operate and are adequate for most countries. Four engine turboprop transports like the C-130 are still popular but increasingly expensive.


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