The first C-130J destined for the Israel Air Force (IAF Tail number 661) made its first flight this week at Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, GA USA. The aircraft was flown by an American crew and lasted three hours. IAF Lt. Col. Uri reported it as successful. The new aircraft is one of three C-130Js ‘Samson’ tactical transport planes ordered by the IAF. The first is scheduled to arrive in Israel in 2014.
For the first flight the aircraft flew in its basic configuration, “After this flight, Israeli systems will be installed in it. The IAF is interested in matching the airplane’s abilities to its missions”. Among the systems the IAF is planning to install on the aircraft are the “Toplite” stabilized electro-optical payload from RAFAEL, adding night-vision capability, a data link and satellite communications terminal, precision airdrop supporting autonomously guided parachute systems, as well as mission-planning and debriefing system.