10.04.2014 Shani Pomes - IAF
The first of the advanced transport planes, the C-130J Hercules, landed in Israel At an exciting ceremony at the new home of the planes - Nevatim airbase - the "Elephants" squadron sign was pasted on the tail of the first "Shimshon" and the plane officially joined the ranks of the IAF
The moment the IAF and "Lockheed Martin" have been waiting for has arrived: the advanced transport plane, the C-130J Hercules, joined the ranks of the IAF. Accompanied by the older planes on base - Boeing 707, Gulfstream, and Hercules planes - the plane landed on the runway of its home in the Negev desert. "On this day, we mark a new peak in the capabilities of the IDF and the Transport Division of the IAF in particular", said Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff, at the ceremony. "The long arm of the IDF is becoming even longer, more accurate, more flexible and more powerful".
The plane was met by Moshe Ya'alon, the Minister of Defense, the IDF Chief of Staff and Major General Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, in addition to dozens of senior officials from the IAF and the Ministry of Defense. Also in attendance were Mr. Dan Shapiro, U.S. Ambassador to Israel and "Lockheed Martin" CEO, Ms. Marillyn Hewson, whose factories manufactured the planes. During the ceremony, the IAF Commander, IDF Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense pasted the symbol of the "Elephants" squadron, whose crews will be operating the plane in the coming years, on the tail of the plane.
For some time now, the IAF and Nevatim airbase have been preparing for the arrival of the plane and from now on, the "Elephants" squadron will be able to train alongside the plane and go out on operational missions. "Its Hebrew name (Shimshon) which was taken from the Biblical hero, reflects our expectations of its performance and its achievements in war and the battle between wars", said the IAF Commander in his speech.
"The C-130J Hercules will integrate into the long arm of the IAF and will make it even stronger in a range of missions that borders on the imagination. It'll add new dimensions and essential flexibility to IDF missions".The C-130J Hercules is a tactical transport plane that is mostly used in joint missions with ground forces: supply missions, equipment transfer, airdropping combat forces and special missions.