Big C-130J award for Lockheed
Lockheed Martin believes the $4.1 billion multiyear contract award issued last month to produce 60 CC-130J "stretched" transport aircraft for the U.S. Air Force and KC-130J tankers for the U.S. Marine Corps brings stability for the program and opens the door for opportunities in other venues, company officials told Defense Daily.
"It's a definite shot in the arm for the C-130J program," Ross Reynolds, vice president of Lockheed Martin's C-130J program, told the newsletter. Jim Grant, Lockheed's director of business development for U.S. programs, also added that from a market standpoint, the multiyear award was a "very strong signal" that the U.S. government was committed to the C-130J program.
The Pentagon said last month it has already issued $271.6 million of the funds for the contract award for the delivery of four KC-130Js. Financially, the inking of the multiyear contract is a huge boost to Lockheed, the Daily said. The company said it needs to have orders for at least 120 of the aircraft to make money on the program. Not including the new multiyear deal, Lockheed has orders for 118 of the C-130Js. It has delivered 94.
The company could find an additional customer for the C-130J in Portugal, which is considering the aircraft instead of the A400M proposed by European consortium Airbus Military.
The C-130J is the latest version of Lockheed's C-130 family of military transport aircraft. The multiyear award specifies terms for 40 CC-130Js for the Air Force and 20 KC-130Js for the Marine Corps. Reynolds said deliveries of the aircraft would begin at the end of 2004 and continue through 2009.
In addition, the U.S. Air Force is investing significantly in the current fleet of 500- plus older-model C-130s. Through the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) which it awarded to Boeing in July 2001, it is equipping these aircraft with a new digital cockpit suite.
The upgrade offers reduced flight-crew workload, global air-traffic compatibility, higher reliability and significantly lower total ownership costs over the older configurations. Boeing is looking to take the AMP technology to other C-130 users, including the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and the large number of international military services that operate the C-130.
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