Netherlands selects Embraer C-390 as Hercules replacement

Netherlands selects Embraer C390
Embraer C-390 military transport aircraft. It was recently selected by the Netherlands.

The Netherlands selected the Embraer C-390M military transport aircraft to replace the Dutch Air Force's old C-130H Hercules fleet, becoming the third European country to opt for the type after Portugal and Hungary. The first aircraft is expected to be delivered in 2026.

The Dutch Ministry of Defense said their initial plan was to keep the C-130 aircraft operational until around 2031, but over time their availability rate dropped more and more so in 2020 they started looking for a replacement.

According to Secretary of State Christophe van der Maat, the original plan included the acquisition of four new aircraft, but later they decided to focus on five units. The increase is due to lessons learned from the evacuations in Afghanistan in 2021 and to respond to new security needs on Europe's eastern flank.

The Brazilian-made aircraft outperformed the Lockeed Martin C-130J Super Hercules as it scored better in availability rate and various operational and technical requirements, including less maintenance. In addition, the C-390M is capable of meeting the minimum requirement of 2,400 flight hours with just four aircraft. The C-130J would cover them with five aircraft.

Christophe van der Maat said the Air Force needs more flight hours and with an increase from 2,400 to 4,000 hours, units can be supported better and more frequently. The additional transportation capacity also benefits agility in disaster response.

The Netherlands also intends to deploy the C-390M within the European Air Transport Command which is a European project focused on sharing the transport and refueling fleet by the 7 participating countries.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Embraer

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