IAF' Upgraded C-130HI Karnaf airlifter declared operational

The Israeli Air Force C-130HI "Karnaf" aircraft was officially declared operational in an induction ceremony held last Wednesday in Nevatim AFB. The aircraft reached operational status after a year-long modification process, which extends the aircraft's lifespan using advanced avionic systems.

IAF Upgraded C 130HI Karnaf airlifter declared operational 001 IAF' 131st Squadron C-130HI Karnaf military transport aircraft
(Credit: IAF/Celia Garion)

"It may seem like an ordinary 'Karnaf' (Hercules C-130) aircraft, but it isn't", said Lt. Col. A', Commander of the 131st ("Knights of the Yellow Bird") Squadron. Last Wednesday, the squadron's service members and family gathered in Nevatim AFB to celebrate the new modified "Karnaf" aircraft squadron.

"The 'Karnaf' modification process reflects our trust in the aircraft's operators, who have shown true operational capabilities", declared Brig. Gen. Eyal Grinboim, Commander of Nevatim AFB. "The various missions performed by the IAF Heavy Transport Division over the past decades have led to the modification of the 'Karnaf' aircraft, meant to ensure its relevance for the following years".

The squadron is currently at the end of the year-long modification process, at the end of which it will operate solely modified "Karnaf" aircraft. The modification was made in cooperation with numerous IAF units and external establishments, and is due to extend the aircraft's lifespan by upgrading its structure and integrating advanced avionic systems. The process will improve the aircraft's capabilities in various missions and flight conditions.

The final aircraft fitness examination will occur in 2019, after which the aircraft will be declared fully operational. "As part of the project, we developed a new 'Hercules' aircraft. The cockpit, fitted according to the Israeli Air Force's needs, allows us to utilize the aircraft's capabilities with the latest flight technology", said Lt. Col. A' with pride. "The modification process gave us time to examine our conceptions, fix certain errors and fall in line. We tried to touch on every subject".

"We are in a historic period", Lt. Col. A' said to the squadron's service members. "45 years after its establishment, the 131st Squadron has now entered the age of the modified 'Karnaf' aircraft". As part of the celebration, the squadron's service members received a new patch.

"I'm happy that we have the opportunity to come up with new inventions and influence the future", declared Brig. Gen. Grinboim. Lt. Col. A' concluded: "The establishment process hasn't ended yet. We mark a significant step today, but there is still work to do".

(Source: IAF/Nuphar Blitt)