POLISH DEPUTY Defence Minister for Procurement, Janusz Zemke, announced on June 17 that five ex-Royal Air Force C-130K Hercules C.1/C.3 transport aircraft will be delivered to Poland by 2007. The aircraft are scheduled to arrive at their new home at Krakow-Balice Air Base in late 2005 and early 2006, where they will be operated by 13 ELTR (Eskadra Lotnictwa Transportowego — Airlift Squadron). Prior to delivery, they will be overhauled in the United States under a $75 million Foreign Military Fund programme, which will include some upgrade work. Additionally, around SI6.5 million from the Polish defence budget will be allocated to cover the cost of modernisation of the infrastructure at selected air bases and the acquisition of additional ground equipment and other hardware. The original plan had been to acquire four Hercules C.ls and two stretched Hercules C.3s, but the condition of one of the C.3s meant that there would be a high cost for refurbishment: consequently only one stretched variant will now be acquired.
Aircrew and ground support personnel training will be carried out in the United States in its initial phase, followed by a complementary training syllabus in Poland. The cost of the training will be drawn from the Foreign Military Fund budget, as will the procurement of the spare parts required to operate the aircraft until 2009. A US technical support group will be established at Krakow-Balice to help introduce the C-130s into service with the Polish Air Force and with their initial operations. The aircraft are scheduled to serve with the 13 ELTR until at least 2020. jack silent