Israel is close to starting negotiations linked to a planned deal to boost its fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports, sources in the nation have indicated.

Three of the airlifters – named “Samson” in Israeli service – are already in operational use at Nevatim air base. Another two will arrive this year under with a further example to follow later. The air force previously outlined a requirement to introduce additional examples on top of those six.

Meanwhile, the operational experience gained by the service in operating the new-generation Hercules since April 2014 will lead to an increase in the number of Israeli-developed systems integrated with its fleet. Most of the enhancements – designed to support the needs of the Israeli Defence Forces’ depth command – are incorporated at Lockheed’s Marietta final assembly site in Georgia, while other equipment is added in Israel. […]