The Netherlands replace Hercules plane, but Embraer can stay out of trouble

The Netherlands announced this week that they intend to expedite the decommissioning of the C-130H Hércules aircraft, which could be an opportunity for Embraer.

Holland’s C-130H flies over Eindhoven © Press release – MOD Netherlands

According to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, the four American-made C-130H Hercules were purchased in 1992 (two new ex works) and 2005 (two more, but used). The oldest of them was made in 1978 and has already passed its useful life.

The replacement program will begin next year and is expected to be completed in 2028, with the fourth and final new aircraft to be delivered.

Embraer’s C-390 has one disadvantage

According to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, the new aircraft should be ready for everyone, including the ability to land on dirt and / or short runways. In addition, the aircraft must be able to perform an aero-medical evacuation to transport patients with high quality medical care.

One point, however, is against the C-390: the Dutch want the plane to “cover a distance of 2,000 nautical miles”. That distance could not be covered by the C-390 taking into account the Department of Defense’s charge of 60 parachutists, which, according to the military portal Scramble Magazine, would limit Embraer’s range to 1,750 nautical miles.

And here comes its main competitor: Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hércules, the modernized version of the C-130. This new version can fly 2,160 nautical miles with 18 tons. This is possible because the C-130J is a turboprop, uses less fuel, but also flies slower, 40% slower than the C-390, which uses turbofan engines.

Special aircraft for special forces

MARSOF in Afghanistan © Disclosure – MOD Netherlands

Another point that can weigh on the Brazilian jet is that one of the four new aircraft would have to be equipped to serve the Corps Commandotroepen (KCT) and MARSOF, which are the special forces of the Dutch army and navy, respectively.

These troops are not known, but they have been operating alongside the US in Afghanistan for a number of good years, conducting special missions. And Lockheed Martin already has two variants of the Super Hercules for this purpose: the EC-130 Commando Solo and the MC-130J Commando II, which are used by the American Air Force.

Hércules Commando is equipped with various communication devices, sensors to support special forces on the ground and integrated refueling functions to support power helicopters. Another modification are the additional fuel tanks, which bring their range to around 3,000 nautical miles without having to refuel.

For this reason, according to Scramble Magazine, the Dutch have already visited Lockheed Martin in the United States and spoken to him. We contacted Embraer to find out if there were negotiations or agreements with the Netherlands. Once the company answers this matter, it will be updated.

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