Austrian Armed Forces Celebrate 20th Anniversary of its C-130 "Hercules

PeopleOther ♦ Published: March 26, 2023; 22:28 ♦ (Vindobona)

Almost exactly 20 years ago, the first of three C-130 "Hercules" landed in Austria on March 20, 2003. This marked the beginning of a new era in military aviation for the Austrian Armed Forces. This was now honored in a military ceremony.

Since the introduction of the C-130 "Hercules" in Austria, approximately 17,000 flight hours have been completed. / Picture: © Bundesheer/Pusch

The three aircraft were used C-130 "Hercules" aircraft of the Royal Air Force from Great Britain. After a general overhaul, they were put into service in Austria in 2003 and 2004. Since the introduction of the C-130 in Austria, approx. 17,000 flight hours have been successfully completed.

The C-130 transport aircraft gained particular media interest during the Covid pandemic. It flew 13 missions as part of foreign evacuations and brought a total of 15 patients back to Austria.

The C-130 and the Austrian Armed Forces

In a message, Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner paid special tribute to the exceptional performance of the crews, saying, "They can be relied upon in any situation and, thanks to our own air transport system, we are independently capable of bringing Austrian citizens or soldiers home safely from crisis areas."

However, the C-130 'Hercules' is also indispensable in supplying Austrian contingents abroad. "Without this airlift capacity, it would not be possible to independently supply distant theaters of operations, such as in Mali or Lebanon," Tanner said.

Representing Governor Thomas Stelzer, Provincial Councilor Wolfgang Hattmannsberger emphasized that freedom, peace and democracy do not exist without security. "The Austrian Armed Forces guarantee this. Security begins not only at home but also abroad. We are committed to Vogler Air Base as the location of air support for our Army," said Hattmannsberger

In his address, the commander of the air force, Brigadier Gerfried Promberger, emphasized above all the necessity of having our own and thus independent air transport capability. Especially in connection with the foreign missions of the Austrian Armed Forces.

The C-130 "Hercules" transport system is now approaching the end of its useful life and will be decommissioned in the next few years after a total operating time of over 55 years.

Defense Minister Tanner has already announced that all measures will be initiated to ensure a smooth takeover by a successor system and that a decision on the successor will be made quickly.

Austrian Armed Forces