December 23, 2010: Unable to maintain its American C-130 transports, because of an embargo, Venezuela is buying a dozen similar Chinese Y-8 transports. China has been building the Y-8 since the early 1980s. The 54 ton propeller driven Y-8 (which is based on the Russian An-12) can, like the similar American C-130, can carry 20 tons. China only built about a hundred Y-8s over the last 30 years, and sold some to Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Sudan. There is some effort to shift the ECM and AWACs work, that Y-8s now perform, to Boeing 737s. Meanwhile, new uses are being found for the Y-8. One was recently converted to a medical evacuation aircraft, able to carry 39 casualties on stretchers and fifteen able to sit, plus medical personnel.
The most common version of the C-130 is the 70 ton 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 79 ton C-130J, has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 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, over 2,300 have been built and it is used by more than 50 countries.