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Tuesday, February 21, 2006
  Not even a real country anymore. It's a shame if they were left on their own to defend themselves.
TheStar.com - Time running out on Canada's Hercules planes: "OTTAWA—Old age has claimed another Hercules transport aircraft — considered the lifelines for Canadian troops abroad — fuelling fears the military may soon 'fall flat on its face' when called on to respond to an international crisis, experts say.

Air force officials confirm that for the second time in the past year, they've taken a decades-old Hercules out of service because it has 'run out of hours,' meaning it cannot fly without a costly, time-consuming retrofit to its airframe.

The military also expects two more Hercules, also known as C-130s, will be grounded for the same reason over the coming year, leaving just 28 of the transports for flying duties at home and abroad.

Already, the Canadian Forces rely on leased civilian transports to ferry the tonnes of supplies needed by Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Deterioration of the Hercules fleet only adds to the pressure on the new Conservative government to find a replacement for the venerable C-130s, and fast."
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