Belgium retires first C-130H military airlifter

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Belgium
Belgium retires first C-130H military airlifter
The Belgian Air Force phased out its first C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, the news agency Belga announced on January 16, 2018, in a first step towards converting the Belgian Air Component airlift capability to the Airbus A400M strategic airlifter.
Belgium retires first C 130H military airlifter 640 001A BAF C-130H Hercules airlifter
(Credit: Belgian MoD)
The Hercules, registration number CH-08, was put in service in 1973 and was officially retired on late December 2017. To avoid a 6 to 7 months long major maintenance, the BAF opted not to operate it anymore. "This decomissioning does not have an immediate effect on our support for operations," the military stated.

The ten remaining C-130Hs are being flown by the 20th Squadron, 15th Air Transport Wing, based in Melsbroek , in North-Eastern Brussels.

"The CH-08 will be used in the form of spare parts for the benefit of the rest of the fleet", the Belgian military said. "In this way, the availability of the other aircraft will be improved, and they will therefore remain operational for a longer time," it added.

Starting 2020, the entire fleet of C-130H - counting 250,300 flight hours - will be replaced by seven A400M aircraft. In June 2017, The BAF temporarily withdrew from service its C-130Hs due to safety concerns. The aircraft were grounded for two weeks while checks were carried out following repeated "abnormal functioning of flight controls".