The C-130J: New Hercules & Old Bottlenecks
October 28/19: France The US Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $12.4 million undefinitized contract action contract for C-130J support. The deal will provide long term sustainment (LTS) for France’s C-130-J aircraft. Critical components of LTS support include program management support; spares, supply support services; support equipment; diminishing manufacturing sources, sustaining engineering services, sustaining engineering/technical services, field services representatives (FRS), logistics service representatives, contract field team, FSR deployment/travel, technical order updates; technical order print and distribution; country standard time compliance technical orders; depot maintenance; aircraft modifications; and data and configuration management programs. The global community of Super Hercules operators recently surpassed two million flight hours. Work will take place in Marietta, Georgia, and at French Air Bases and is expected to be completed by January 1, 2023.
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 – 2019
FY 2006 and earlier
FY 2005 and earlier (incomplete)
Additional Readings & Sources
News & Related Developments
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