The aircraft would replace the Swedish Air Force’s old C-130Hs
Sweden is looking to replace its six old C-130Hs (Tp84 according to the Swedish MoD designation) with four second-hand C-130Js from Italy, as the procurement of the latter has been judged as a better option than an upgrade program. While this has not yet been officially confirmed from the two countries, Air Forces Monthly reported the news after an interview with the Swedish Air Force Chief of Staff.
“We are buying the first two from the Italian Air Force, which will be modified at a later stage”, said Major General Carl-Johan Edström. “We hope to acquire six and the second pair will also come from Italy. So, replacing all six C-130Hs with six C-130Js.” In fact, it is being reported that the Italian government has put six C-130s on sale.
Before the decision to completely replace the C-130H fleet, Sweden has been looking at ways to upgrade the aircraft currently in service. However, the upgrade program would have reduced the number of the operational aircraft for the time being. “We decided not to modernise our C-130Hs, because it meant the fleet numbers would drop for several years while they were away being modified, which would take six to nine months at a time”, said Major General Edström.
According to AFM’s interview, the first two aircraft might be delivered already next year, while the complete replacement of the C-130H fleet might happen by 2025. The acquisition of the C-130J has been judged a perfect choice by Major General Edström: “It’s a great decision to go for the C-130Js. They can fulfil the needs of the special forces, army and air force – it’s the perfect design for the Armed Forces.”
The Aeronautica Militare received 12 C-130Js and ten longer C-130J-30s, which were delivered between May 2000 and February 2005 and assigned to the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) at Pisa-San Giusto airport. Several of these aircraft are reportedly in storage, with Scramble reporting at least three aircraft noted stored at Pisa and around five aircraft at Venice-Tessera airport. The numbers seem to add up with the reports about six aircraft being up for sale.
Three of the Italian C-130Js have been converted to KC-130J tankers, although the Italian Air Force originally acquired six air-to-air refueling kits. One of the six Swedish C-130Hs is a tanker aircraft (Tp84T) that is used to keep the Gripen pilotshttps://theaviationist.com/2018/07/25/swedish-air-force-jas-39-gripen-c-jet-dropped-gbu-12-bomb-to-cut-forest-fire-near-military-range-in-sweden/ current in the air-to-air refueling qualification. It is unclear at this time if the aircraft will be replaced by a KC-130J or by a standard C-130J and later upgraded with the air-to-air refueling kit.