In a deal that will increase by two-thirds the size of the Australian air force´s fleet of its second-largest heavy transport aircraft, Canberra said Monday it’ll buy 20 new C-130 Hercules from the US in a 9.8 billion Australian dollar deal.
The United States, which is currently conducting its biennial Talisman Sabre military exercise along with Australia and 13 nations, announced the deal after the US Congress approved last year 24 of the propellor-driven aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
The first of the new C-130 Hercules, as Australian Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said, should be delivered in 2027 from RAAF Base Richmond near Sydney to the Royal Australian Air Force, which also operates eight of the larger Boeing C-17A Globemaster heavy transport jet aircraft.
The purchase “will almost double the fleet and represents a massive uplift in capability, in mobility and transport for the Royal Australian Air Force,” Conroy told reporters.
In a sign of building a closer bilateral military relationship with Australia, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and State Secretary Antony Blinken will meet with their Australian counterparts late this week in the Australian city of Brisbane for annual talks.