Hercules and Saudi Arabia: A historic partnership

Photo shows the first C-130 aircraft delivered in Saudi Arabia in 1965 . (File photo/Supplied )
Updated 15 March 2019

Hercules and Saudi Arabia: A historic partnership

  • The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) relies on the C-130 to support a myriad of tactical airlift requirements
  • At its peak, the Kingdom’s Hercules fleet was made up of 65 aircraft

RIYADH: The C-130 Hercules transport aircraft has long been known as the world’s workhorse, toiling away for 70 nations around the globe, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) relies on the C-130 to support a myriad of tactical airlift requirements, from regional peacekeeping exercises to delivering much-needed resources to countries and communities afflicted by natural disasters. Saudi Arabia’s C-130s are national assets that have long functioned as global resources. 

“The Kingdom is home to the largest C-130 fleet outside of the United States. Our presence in the Kingdom goes back to 1965 when we delivered the first C-130 aircraft. Since then, our relationship has strengthened into a long-term relationship based on innovation, technology, security and active participation toward the realization of Saudi Vision 2030,” said Joseph Rank, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has an active fleet of Hercules aircraft variations, including 52 C-130H/KC-130/L-100. At its peak, the Kingdom’s Hercules fleet was made up of 65 aircraft. 

The Kingdom expanded its presence as a leader in the worldwide Hercules community in 2013 when it chose the C-130J Super Hercules with its initial acquisition of two KC-130J aerial refuelers. 

The KC-130J is a variant of the C-130J Super Hercules, the current and most advanced C-130 production model. To date, 20 nations around the world operate or plan to operate Super Hercules aircraft.



The C-130J represents a complete reinvention of the legacy Hercules. Advanced avionics, two head-up displays, reduced crew requirements, automated maintenance systems, upgraded engines and Dowty six-bladed propellers help the C-130J go further and faster than older models. 

The KC-130J operates as a tactical transport or tanker, with the ability to refuel fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. 

The KC-130J also has the capability to conduct rapid ground refueling operations. The KC-130J can also be used for airland and airdrop delivery of combat troops, personnel and cargo. 

“The RSAF’s KC-130Js make a strong Hercules fleet even stronger and more dynamic. The KC-130J is a proven platform that is defined by its power, versatility and unmatched capabilities. It’s a natural addition to the RSAF’s fleet and we are proud that the RSAF crews use the KC-130J to support critical and vital transport and tanker requirements,” said Christopher Antone, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Vice President for Strategic Pursuits and Business Development – Saudi Arabia.

Diplomatic Quarter: Envoys extend Eid greetings to Saudis

Updated 28 May 2020

Diplomatic Quarter: Envoys extend Eid greetings to Saudis

RIYADH: Foreign ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have been passing on their Eid Al-Fitr greetings to the government and people of the Kingdom.

The US Mission in the Kingdom, tweeted: “The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid on behalf of all Americans living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia greeted saying, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Eid Mubarak to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and all our Saudi friends and colleagues as you celebrate this special holiday.

“May your Eid be joyous, even in this challenging time as we work together to fight (the) coronavirus (disease) COVID-19.”

In a tweet, the Australian ambassador in Riyadh, Ridwaan Jadwat, said: “Wishing everyone celebrating the end of Ramadan a joyous Eid Al-Fitr on behalf of my family and our embassy team: #EidMubarak!”

Posting a video message to the Saudi people, he added: “May I say on behalf of my family and the team here at the Australian Embassy in Riyadh, I hope that you have a safe, happy and blessed Eid Al-Fitr.”

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, said: “May you all be blessed with #Peace, #Joy and #Love on #EidUlFitr and always! #EidMubarak to you and your families.”

Eid Al-Fitr celebrations this year have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The holy month of Ramadan and the festival of Eid in 2020 will be remembered as a time when traditions had to be broken to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

In a message addressing Saudis, the Pakistani community in the Kingdom, and Muslims around the world, Pakistan’s consul general in Jeddah, Khalid Majid, said: “This year, we are celebrating Eid in a very simple and somber manner. Undoubtedly, the world is passing through one of the most difficult times due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has badly affected our socio-economic life.”

He added that many people had already lost their lives to the disease while large numbers were still battling with it.

“Besides, the death of around 100 of our Pakistani brethren in a recent PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) plane crash at Karachi has also left us sad and gloomy. My sincere prayers are with all those who lost their lives and also with their bereaved families. At the same time, I also sincerely pray for the good health and speedy recovery of all the COVID-19 patients.

“My deep appreciation and prayers for continued success also goes to all our frontline soldiers including doctors, paramedics, law enforcement agencies and all other involved departments, who are fighting against this deadly virus, at the risk of their own lives.

“I take this opportunity to convey my deepest gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for taking very effective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. Provision of best health facilities and efficient other services across the Kingdom are instrumental in effectively tackling the situation. It is evident from these steps that the recovery rate in the Kingdom is one of the highest in the world,” Majid said.

“I advise all Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia to continue abiding by all local health and safety instructions, including those relating to social distancing, so that we can all be safe and play our part in strengthening the efforts of the Saudi government in defeating this pandemic.”