Egypt Approved for C-130J Super Hercules Purchase

 - January 27, 2022, 5:14 AM
An Egyptian air force Hercules, originally delivered as a a VC-130H, is seen during a visit to Dover AFB, Delaware, in 2020. EAF C-130s wear dual military/civil registrations. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. State Department has given the green light for the sale of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft to Egypt. The decision over the $2.2 billion deal was delivered to Congress by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on January 25. 

Egypt’s request covers 12 C-130Js complete with Rolls-Royce AE-2100D turboprops, plus 12 spare engines. Egypt has requested that the aircraft are equipped for self-protection with AAR-47 missile warning system, ALR-56M radar warning receiver, and ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system. They are to feature the Teledyne FLIR AAQ-22 Star Safire 380 electro-optic turret, APX-119 identification friend or foe transponders, Embedded GPS/INS, and the Mulitifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminal Block Upgrade 2 (MIDS-LVT BU2) datalink.

The request also includes secure communications, cryptographic equipment, and GPS navigation systems, as well as a range of software, documentation, logistics support, support equipment, and training. The DSCA notification notes that Egypt intends to operate the aircraft for maritime patrol and search-and-rescue operations, in addition to regular airlift tasks.

Al Quwwat Al Jawwiya Il Misriya (the Egyptian air force, EAF) has operated “legacy” versions of the Hercules since 1976, when the first of a batch of 20 C-130Hs was delivered. The final aircraft from this order, delivered in March 1979, was outfitted as VC-130H for VIP passenger transport, but is now used for regular airlift duties. A further three C-130Hs were added in 1982, and in 1990-92 three stretched C-130H-30s were acquired. To make good for attrition three C-130Hs were bought from Denmark in 2004. In 2017 Sierra Nevada Corporation was awarded a contract to provide an electronic intelligence capability for Egypt’s Hercules, possibly as a roll-on, roll-off palletized system. The fleet is operated by Nos 4 and 16 Squadrons, operating from Cairo International Airport.

On the same day as the C-130J announcement, the State Department also approved the sale of three L3 Harris Surveillance Systems SPS-48 Land-Based Radars to Egypt in a contract estimated at $355 million. Also included are upgrades to the six SPS-48Es that Egypt bought in the 2000s.