The Polish Air Force last week received the first of five refurbished C-130E Hercules transports at its Powidz Air Base. Maj. Gen. William Chambers, director of air and space operations at US Air Forces in Europe, said the Poland is “one of our allies who are very willing to go,” so it is “vital” for them to have that organic capability. He continued, “Whether it is Afghanistan or Iraq, they’ve been alongside the Americans in both fights.” Calling the arrival of the tactical airlifter “a milestone,” Polish Brig. Gen. Tadeusz Mikutel, 33rd Air Base commander, said in a Polish embassy statement: “The plane is able to carry 17 tons of equipment or 90 equipped soldiers. That is why the plane will leave [our current] CASA planes behind.” According to a Polish Ministry of Defense statement, Poland expects to receive the other four Hercules by summer 2010. A US Air Force Total Force crew picked up the aircraft at the L-3 Communication Integrated Systems Waco (Tex.) Integration Center and, along with a Polish aircrew, flew the C-130 to Poland. (USAFE report by Capt. Tony Wickman)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.