The United States has offered a dozen C-13OH Hercules transport aircraft to the South African Air Force (SAAF) to replace its older and accident-prone C-130BZ transporters.
The twelve 1980s-era C-130H transport aircraft are been offered under the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme to help Pretoria fight Islamist militants in Mozambique. The United States is offering South Africa C-130H Hercules aircraft for 15.7 USD per aircraft. Howver, funds constraints is limiting the SAAF’s options.
The South African Air Force (SAAF) is currently considering upgrading its ageing C-130BZ capabilities to increase their lifespan up till 2014. South African Defense and Military Minister Veteran Thandi Modise said in May this year that Operational Capability Required (ROC) is in the process of upgrading the South African Air Force (SAAF) C-130 fleet with a budget of 110 million USD (R1.6 billion).
A second option may see South Africa’s accept the offer, and also upgrade 5 C-30BZs operated by 28 Squadron, this would enable the C-130BZs to remain airworthy until 2040, Modise stated.
The South African air force faced with aircraft serviceability and availability issues due to constrained funding. This has been negatively affecting it’s flying hours. This was revealed during a progress report from the Department of Defence (DoD) presented at a Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) meeting on 18 August, 2021.
“Constrained funding is also affecting the ability to provide enough serviceable aircraft, although serious efforts are being made to ensure availability is increased within the reduced budget,” the Committee heard, after expressing concern about the fact that the SA Air Force is not able to meet its flying hour targets.
In 2020, a South African Air Force (SAAF) C-130BZ Hercules suffered a nose wheel collapse at AFB Waterkloof. The C-130BZ Hercules (405) was preparing for another test-flight before the nose wheel unintentionally retracted when the number 2 engine was started.
Denel was readying Hercules 405 to replace Hercules 403 that ran off the runway in the Democratic Republic of Congo in January this year. The SAAF stripped out and dismantled the Hercules aircraft that veered off the runway at Goma, DRC. The salvaged usable parts was distributed around the remaining SAAF C-130BZ fleet as needed.