The C-130J: New Hercules & Old Bottlenecks
August 3/18: Trouble in India Jane’s reports that Lockheed Martin is currently is co-operating with the Indian Ministry of Defense to discharge defense offset obligations linked to its sales of C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The comments follow media reports in India that the MoD has cashed in part of a bank guarantee from Lockheed Martin in relation to a fine linked to an alleged breach of offset obligations tied to the C-130J program. The offset package under discussion was linked to the US government’s sale of a second batch of six C-130Js announced in 2013, which was costed at $1.1 billion. The IAF acquired an initial batch of six aircraft in 2007 for $962 million, although Lockheed Martin’s offset obligations linked to this program have already been met. Sales of both batches of C-130Js were conducted under the US Foreign Military Sales route.
The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs?
C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS Article describes the C-130J, examines the bottleneck issue, covers global developments for the C-130J program, and looks at present and emerging competitors.
The (Private) Labors of Hercules: the C-130J Family
Base Platform: The C-130J
The Value of Variants
Turbulent Flight: The C-130J Program
The C-130J and the 20-ton Bottleneck
Contracts and Key Events
FY 2016 – 2018
FY 2006 and earlier
FY 2005 and earlier (incomplete)
Additional Readings & Sources
News & Related Developments
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