Three operational C-130s at last

The following DND photograph captures a significant milestone in recent PAF history: the return of the rule-of-three to its airlift operations. Aircraft #4704, which recently arrived from a PDM cycle in the United States, and #4726, the PAF workhorse in recent years.

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Touted as a milestone in self-reliance, the Philippine Air Force completed Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM) for C-130B #3633 through the efforts of its own personnel at the 410th Maintenance Wing.  Lockheed-Martin endorsed consultants were reportedly on hand to ensure compliance with industry standards.It was the first time the PAF had ever undertaken a project of this magnitude. Previous PDM efforts had either been done in Malaysia, or in-country through Asian Aerospace — a Lockheed-Martin approved contractor. As of writing, it is unclear if Asian Aerospace provided assistance for the project.

At the turnover ceremony for the refurbished Hercules, PAF Vice Commander MGEN Raul Dimatactac reported that the project gave PAF personnel invaluable experience in the conduct of PDM cycles for C-130 aircraft, and hinted this this experience would pave the way for more in-country PDM projects in the future. MGEN Dimatactac revealed that the project started in 2010, and would have been completed in 2011. But procedural difficulties in the acquisition of required components delayed the project. He also counted the experience gained in working with the procurement process as an achievement of the project, and would hasten similar efforts.

The PAF came close to returning to the critical 3-plane mark in 2009 when C-130 #4726 completed its Programmed Depot Maintenance cycle. Unfortunately, C-130 # 4598 crashed a few months prior. When the long-serving #4704  — which had been the lone C-130 for several years — was finally set aside for repair, the PAF returned to a one-plane fleet.