Norway Renews Its Tactical Transport Fleet

C-130 RNoAF

Norwegian C-130J

Jan 31/14: Multi-year support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $48.9 million ceiling requirements contract for long-term RNoAF C-130J Return and Repair support, spares support, engineering support, in country representative support, and modification support. The initial order is $6.9 million, with additional orders to be placed as needed.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA and at Gardermoen Air Station, Norway, and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/18. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition, and is managed by the US Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCB at Robins AFB, GA (FA8553-14-D-0001).

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Norwegian C-130H byTorbjorn Kjosvold(click to view full) Back in February 2007, the Norwegian Forsvarsnett said: “The Armed Forces have six C-130H Hercules transport aircrafts today [DID: 335 skv, out of Oslo-Gardermoen]. These were bought in 1969 and are outdated. Recent updates have made them able to be operational until 2012-15, but it is now known […]
C-130H Norwegian Torbjorn Kjosvold

Norwegian C-130H by
Torbjorn Kjosvold
(click to view full)

Back in February 2007, the Norwegian Forsvarsnett said:

“The Armed Forces have six C-130H Hercules transport aircrafts today [DID: 335 skv, out of Oslo-Gardermoen]. These were bought in 1969 and are outdated. Recent updates have made them able to be operational until 2012-15, but it is now known that the planes need further work done to them still. Therefore the Norwegian government has started investigating the possibility of either renting or buying up to four new planes of the type Hercules C-130J.”

Faced with the prospect of further C-130H refurbishment work on one hand, and entreaties by the A400M consortium on the other, Norway had to decide what to do. They did, and the decision promptly came under political attack – but a deal was done for 4 stretched C-130J-30s, and the final aircraft flew off to Norway in July 2010. A tragic crash cut the fleet to 3, but an expedited buy has restored it.

The Platform: C-130J-30

C-130J vs C-130J-30

C-130J vs. C-130J-30
via CASR
(click to view full)

The Norwegians appear to have decided that minimizing the additional C-130H costs required new aircraft as soon as possible. Hence the proposed purchase of stretched C-130J-30 aircraft with extra length and additional power in adverse conditions, in order to replace their C-130H fleet as quickly as possible. The total cost, if all options are exercised, could be $520 million for the fully outfitted aircraft and contracted support.

This US Air Force fact sheet offers a number of comparative figures involving the C-130J-30 vs. C-130H and C-130J aircraft. With respect to modernizations from the C-130H fleet, it notes that:

“C-130J/J-30 major system improvements include: advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics; color multifunctional liquid crystal displays and head-up displays; state-of-the-art navigation systems with dual inertial navigation system and global positioning system; fully integrated defensive systems; low-power color [weather] radar; digital moving map display; new turboprop engines with six-bladed, all-composite propellers; digital auto pilot; improved fuel, environmental and ice-protection systems; and an enhanced cargo-handling system.”

The stretched C-130J-30 adds 15 feet of fuselage length over its C-130J counterpart, most of which is placed forward of the wing as the plane stretches from 97’9″ (29.3 m) to 112’9″ (34.69 m). The extra cargo space allows it to add adds 2 standard pallets (to 8), 23 litters (to 97), 8 CDS bundles (to 24), 36 combat troops (to 128), or 28 paratroopers (to 92) over C-130H/J models, and the aircraft’s maximum cargo weight increases by 9,000 pounds (to 164,000 pounds/ 74,393 kg), while maximum allowable cargo payload rises by a ton (to 44,000 pounds/ 19,958 kg).

In practice, maximum normal payload is 2,000 pounds higher than the C-130J, but 500 pounds lower than the C-130H’s 36,500 pounds. Even so, the stretched C-130J-30 shares the C-130J’s ability to use much more of its theoretical cargo capacity in hot or high altitude environments than previous C-130 versions; US experience in places like Afghanistan and Iraq indicates that as many as 3 C-130H models may be required to do the job of 1 C-130J in these “hot and high” conditions.

In exchange, the stretched C-130J-30 suffers a speed drop of 7 mph (410 mph at 22,000 feet) vs. the C-130J, a 2,000 foot lower ceiling (26,000 feet with full payload), and maximum range at full payload that falls by 115 miles to 1,956 miles. It does outshine the smaller C-130J when carrying only 35,000 pounds of cargo, however: its 2,417 miles is a 576 mile increase over the C-130J, and a 921 mile increase over the C-130H.

Note that except for maximum normal payload, all of the C-130J’s figures remain significantly better than Norway’s current C-130H fleet, with statistics of 366 mph at 22,000 feet, a 23,000 foot ceiling, and range at maximum normal payload of 1,208 miles.

Contracts and Key Events

2011 – 2014

Fatal crash, replacement & support.

C-130 RNoAF

Norwegian C-130J

Jan 31/14: Multi-year support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $48.9 million ceiling requirements contract for long-term RNoAF C-130J Return and Repair support, spares support, engineering support, in country representative support, and modification support. The initial order is $6.9 million, with additional orders to be placed as needed.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA and at Gardermoen Air Station, Norway, and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/18. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition, and is managed by the US Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCB at Robins AFB, GA (FA8553-14-D-0001).

Multi-year support

Dec 19/13: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces Norway’s formal export request for C-130J technical, engineering, and software support. Work would include software updates and patches; familiarization training for the Portable Flight Planning System (PFPS) and Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); spares; and other forms of support. The estimated cost is up to $107 million.

The principal contractors are listed as Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, GA; Rolls Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN; and GE’s Dowty Propellers in Sterling, VA. Norway won’t need any additional support personnel. Sources: DSCA 13-68.

DSCA: Support request

Oct 22/13: Crash Report. The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority releases its final report looking into the March 2012 crash (q.v. March 15/12), and finds failings on both the Norwegian and Swedish sides. This accident appears to mostly have been caused by under-prepared, poorly-coordinated air traffic control, among a variety of human factors. There was no technical failure on the aircraft itself, according to the investigators. Sources: Sweden’s The Local: “‘Multiple failures’ led to Hercules plane crash” | Swedish Accident Investigation Authority report [PDF in Swedish].

Sept 28/12: The Royal Norwegian Air Force formally accepts their replacement C-130J-30 Super Hercules.

It’s a couple of years early, thanks to the USAF. A C-130J originally destined for Dyess AFB, TX was redirected to become Norway’s replacement aircraft instead, and the USAF will take its own delivery when Norway’s plane would have been ready. Lockheed Martin.


Aug 17/12: Replacement order. The Pentagon announces a $83 million contract modification (FA8625-11-C-6597-P00127) with Lockheed Martin Corp. of Marietta, GA, for 1 C-130J production aircraft for Norway, to be completed by July 31/15.

This takes care of replacing the aircraft that crashed in March 2012. For now, Norway isn’t extending its fleet beyond the initial total of 4 planes.

Replacement contract

June 7/12: The Replacements. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Norway’s formal request to buy 2 C-130J-30s equipped to the USAF baseline, 9 Rolls Royce AE2100-D3 Engines (8 installed and 1 spare), plus aircraft modifications for Norwegian specifications, Norwegian-compatible communication equipment and support, defensive countermeasure systems, other Government Furnished Equipment, plus tools and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US government & contractor support.

If a contract is signed, Norway’s C-130J-30 fleet will rise to 5 planes. The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA, but the proposed sale will not require any more representatives in Norway. The estimated cost for these 2 planes is set at up to $300 million, however, which is about the cost of Norway’s first 4 C-130J-30s. Actual amounts will depend on negotiations, but it looks like Norway is thinking about a significant support contract as well.

DSCA request: 1 replacement

June 4/12: Engine maker Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, ID receives a $14.3 million (face value) firm-fixed-price contract to purchase spares, field services support and program management, return and repair support, and engineering services support for the RNoAF’s remaining C-130J fleet at Gardermoen AFB, Norway. Work is to be complete by Jan 31/14. The WR-ALC/GRBKB at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract, on behalf of its Norwegian client (FA8504-07-D-0001-0602).

March 15/12: Crash. Norway’s newest C-130J-30 crashes into Sweden’s Mount Kebnekaise at an altitude of almost 5,000 feet, during the international military exercise “Cold Response.” All 5 crew are killed. The plane was on a routine personnel and material transport flight, with the nearest fighters over 100 km away at the time of the crash.

Lieutenant Colonel Trond Solna was quoted in the Norwegian paper Aftenposten as saying that pilots of the C-130 cargo plane might have chosen to fly manually (tactical flying), which they had planned to do if weather conditions were favorable. Weather conditions were bad enough that it took until March 17th for a Norwegian P-3C Orion aircraft to spot the wreckage, with an avalanche zone beneath the impact point. Norway’s The Foreigner | Pentagon DVIDS | Flight International | AP/Kansas City Star | AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


Jan 31/12: Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $7.8 million firm-fixed-price, time-and-material contract for spares, field support representatives, program management, return and repair support, and engineering services from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, to support their new 4-plane C-130J fleet.

Work will be performed in Marietta, GA until Jan 31/14. The Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, #0606).

Jan 28/11: A $16.9 million contract modification exercises an option to purchase support equipment and spares for Iraq, as well as logistic support services for Norway. Both are C-130J customers, and Norway has already received its 4 aircraft. At this time the entire amount has been obligated by the ASC/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456).

2006 – 2010

From DSCA request to delivery.

RNoAF C-130J

RNoAF C-130J-30 and
Canadian C-130J
(click to view full)

July 1/10: The last of 4 RNoAF C-130J-30s heads off to Norway. Lockheed Martin.

May 11/10: Lockheed Martin delivers the 4th and last of Norway’s C-130J-30s, at a Marietta, GA ceremony with U.S. and Norwegian officials. Lockheed Martin.

Final delivery

Aug 24/09: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA receives a $30.2 million modified contract to purchase the quick engine change assemblies for American C/KC/BC/HC/MC-130J aircraft, and Foreign Military Sale aircraft for Norway and India.

“At this time $31,972,726 has been obligated.” The US Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8625-06-C-6456).

Feb 26/09: Rolls-Royce announces a $23 million MissionCare support services and spares contract for AE 2100D3 engines. The engines are installed on the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s (RNoAF) C-130Js.

This contract is modeled after the USAF’s Power By The Hour contract, providing a comprehensive support package to the RNoAF on a per-engine flight-hour basis. The contract covers on-site technical support, maintenance support, training, provision of spare parts, supply replenishment with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the engine, and supply of an R391 Dowty propeller. Forecast International.

RNoAF C-130J

Norwegian C-130J-30
(click to view full)

Nov 12/08: The first C-130J is turned over to the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) in a ceremony at the Lockheed-Martin plant in Marietta, GA. The USAF release sets the final contract amount at $516 million for all 4 aircraft, additional equipment, training, and initial spares. The ability to pay in converted Euros at that currency’s high point took some of the sting out, of course.

May 27/08: The first of four C-130J-30s for Norway completes production and painting at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, GA. Deliveries to Norway will include one aircraft in 2008, one in 2009 and two in 2010. Lockheed Martin release.

Nov 7/07: Lockheed Martin says that it has received a $304 million preliminary contract to deliver 4 C-130J tactical transport aircraft to the government of Norway. The agreement provides half of the contract funds immediately, which allows Lockheed Martin to begin acquiring production materials. A final contract for the Norwegian aircraft is expected to be signed early in 2008, at which point any remaining funds will be paid per the agreed schedule.

Deliveries to Norway will reportedly include 1 aircraft in 2008, 1 in 2009 (both of which were intended for the USAF before the production slots were transferred) and 2 in 2010. CNNN Money | Reuters

Contract for 4

July 18/07: A USAF release discusses the expedited back-end processes that helped Norway’s C-130J request clear regulatory hurdles in less than half of the normal 180 day turnaround time. “Agency helps expedite C-130 sale to Norway” involves the Air Force Security Assistance Center and other Air Force Materiel Command Foreign Military Sales organizations, and explains how the need to have a firm option to table in Norway’s Parliament and bring new aircraft into service quickly for use on missions abroad motivated extra effort:

“The Defense Department standard for processing a request of this nature, including navigating the inherent legal hurdles, arranging production schedules, set prices, etc., is 180 days. With the help and support of members of the Aeronautical System Center’s 516th Aeronautical Systems Group and the staff of the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, AFSAC officials processed Norway’s request in less than half that time.”

June 26/07: Lockheed Martin announces that the governments of Norway and the United States have signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for the sale of 4 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to Norway. Under separate agreements, Lockheed Martin will create an industrial cooperation program that fully meets Norwegian requirements for the C-130J procurement.

May 26/07: The Norway Post reports that the government’s declared intention to push the C-130J purchase through on an urgent requirements basis without an open bidding round has sparked a political backlash.

The Conservatives and the right wing Progress Party have a majority in the Parliament’s Defence Committee, and want enough time to consider the purchase. Committee chair Jan Petersen (Conservative) has called Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen to a thorough committee hearing. The government is also facing strong opposition from coalition partners the Socialist Left (SV), who wants a bidding round first; and the Agrarian Party (SP) which touts the idea of upgrading Norway’s 40-year old planes instead.

The Defence Minister counters by pointing out that the 40-year-old Hercules transport planes would not meet the safety standards needed for missions abroad like Afghanistan or other UN missions. The only manufacturer who is able to supply new aircraft at such short notice, she says, is Lockheed Martin. Post report, via Defence Aerospace.

C-130H Norway Hangar

RNoAF C-130H
(click to view larger)

April 18/07: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress [PDF format] of Norway’s request for 4 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, as well as associated equipment and services. It adds that:

“Norway intends to use the C-130J aircraft for intra-theater support for its troops involved in worldwide operations. Additionally, the aircraft will be used for humanitarian relief operations in various locations to include the Sudan, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.”

Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX will supply the aircraft, and will be responsible for procuring and integrating the defensive systems. olls-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN will supply the engines. The total contract values, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $520 million. The sale request includes:

* 4 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 stretched Hercules United States Air Force (USAF) baseline aircraft and equipment
* 16 Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines
* 2 Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 spare engines
* 4 AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (Alliant)
* 1 spare AAR-47 Missile Warning System
* 4 AN/ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receivers (BAE, also used on USAF C-130Js)
* 1 spare AN/ALR-56M Advanced Radar Warning Receiver
* 4 AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing Systems (BAE, produces those “angel wings” smoke profiles)
* 1 spare AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing System
* 2 spare AN/ARC-210 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS)
* 2 spare AN/AAR-222 SINCGARS and Key Gen (KV-10) cryptographic Systems
* 10 Advanced Adaptive Anti-jam Antenna Systems

The stipulation of US baseline is potentially significant; there is also a Block 6.1 international configuration, which was agreed upon as the joint upgrade version for most of the non-US countries currently flying C-130Js (Australia, Britain, Denmark, Italy). Then again, the Norwegian request does specify “configuration updates” as an item.

The Norwegian request also include spare and repair parts, non-Major Defense Equipment Communications Security equipment and radios, integration studies, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, technical services, personnel training and training equipment, foreign liaison office support, Field Service Representatives, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support.

DSCA request: 4 C-130J-30 Block 6.1

Additional Readings

* US Air Force – Fact Sheet: C-130 HERCULES

* Forecast International (March 1/07) – Facing Tighter Budgets, Nordic Nations Consider Greater Cooperation

* Flight International (Dec 12/06) – Nordic Special: Buying Power. “Two of the Nordic states are weighing their options for new fighters, while all four are seeking to access strategic airlift. What’s on their shopping list?”

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