Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Contract For Six More C-130Js Definite'

An Indian government contract for six more American-built C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical transport airplanes is "definite" according to an Indian Air Force official on the secretariat of the Air Marshal who oversees procurement. Lockheed-Martin began the effort to get India to exercise options on the original March 2008 contract shortly after it was signed, though the IAF had identified a need for at least 18 such airplanes.

The officer, who asked not to be named, told me, "The view is you cannot achieve very much with six aircraft. There has to be a minimum number for effective squadron service. This has been agreed upon between us and the Government. It is only a question of when they choose to exercise the option. It is an FMS deal, so there will obviously be some diplomatic leverage. As far as we are concerned, we know we are getting the additional airplanes."

I asked the officer if the IAF had expressed an interest in operating more than 12 C-130s. His response: "Let's be very clear -- the 20-ton airlifter type is going to be extremely useful to our air maintenance operations across the board. The C-130s are coming. We will have 12 of them. We will make good use of them. But we will also have the MRTA from early 2017 if all goes according to plan. We cannot ignore that project, since we are investing over $300-million in that. We can certainly operate more than 12 C-130s, but we have to rationalize types."

Either way, it is unlikely that a follow-on contract for six additional C-130Js will be signed before next year. Lockheed-Martin will again be bringing a USAF C-130J to AeroIndia 2011 next February, and is working with the IAF to show off its first C-130J (scheduled to arrive days before the Bangalore show begins) for the first time at AeroIndia.

10 comments:

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

A projected fleet of 18 C-130J-30s (all IAF units will be stretched versions, unlike the C-130J) will also require the setting up of a dedicated depot-level maintenance facility, probably in Nagpur, with Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce coming in as the principal OEMs in search of local industrial partners.

Anonymous said...

Oh...Nagpur....I had read somewhere that they would be based ay Hindon....and the infrastructure there is to accomodate 12 C-130-J-30's....

Anonymous said...

BIGGEST HELICOPTER of IAF

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hppPysbas74&feature=related

Anonymous said...

I really can't figure out why the IAF is getting so many aircraft of the same category.

Don't the C-130J-30 and the MTA sort of converge on the capability front?

If so, wont it increase maintenance costs(Economies of scale would reduce costs if we buy more of the same type).

Anonymous said...

Who the F are we planning to invade?
"Barren Islands" ?
Phook... hope our AF blokes and MoD have their loins tightened coz what is to follow will be one helluva puppet dance.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:47 PM,

MTA not coming before 2017 if everything goes according to plan but until than what the IAF will do??? We need these aircrafts for Kashmir and North East.

Anonymous said...

Shiv- The artwork of the accompanying painting of the para-drop is quite nice. Whose work is this?

Shiv Aroor said...

anon@12.29pm: Not sure, but it's a Lockheed-Martin's official artwork.

Gautam said...

Considering the MTA is planned to have a special forces delivery version as well I can't help but think these expensive C-130 purchases as unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

It seems the chinese have developed a C-130J equivlant...the paks will buy that at 20% of the cost....