With the delivery in 1994 of the first C-130H-30 Hercules to the Royal Netherlands Air Force 334 Squadron at Eindhoven, the RNLAF added a valuable asset to the renewed transport fleet. Together with the DC-10 Transport and KD-C-10 Tanker/Transport it made it possible to support deployment of Dutch troops to other parts of the world without being fully dependent on other NATO Allies.
The C-130H-30 is ) is a stretched version of the original Hercules, achieved by inserting a 2.54 meter plug aft of the cockpit and an 2.03 meter plug at the rear of the fuselage adding more load capacity compared to the shorter H models.
The C-130's proved their value in various UN operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda etc. Today the C-130's are supporting Dutch and other NATO troops deployed in Afghanistan.
The Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft built by Lockheed. It is the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide. Over 40 models and variants of the Hercules serve with more than 50 nations. In December 2006 the C-130 became the fifth aircraft—after the English Electric Canberra, B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95, and KC-135 Stratotanker—to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case the United States Air Force. The C-130 remains in production as the updated C-130J Super Hercules.
Capable of takeoffs and landings from unprepared runways, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling and aerial firefighting. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more than 50 years of service the family has participated in military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations.
In 2004 the ministry of Defense acquired three former U.S. Navy EC-130Q Hercules that are currently being converted into two C-130H aircraft. At the same time both aircraft will receive new fully digital cockpits that will make it possible to reduce the flight crew from three to two. Delivery of the first "new" Hercules is planned in 2008. When the two H's are delivered the C-130H-30 versions will undergo the same avionic update to make the fleet fully exchangeable to the flight crews.
Since October 23rd 2007 the Hercules operates with the re-activated 336 Squadron at Eindhoven Air Base.