Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lockheed Has High Hopes for C-130J Market in the Gulf



Dubai Air Show

Lockheed Has High Hopes for C-130J Market in the Gulf


Lockheed Martin sees potential sales in the Middle East for the C-130J-30 Super Hercules. The Super Hercules has seen action in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and the new aircraft has caught the attention of Middle East customers, said Rick Groesch, regional vice president, Middle East, International Business Development, speaking here at the Dubai Air Show.

Groesch said the flexibility of the C-130J offers Middle East customers the ability to perform a wide range of missions.

“With just one platform, they can perform search and rescue, maritime patrol, aerial refueling, combat delivery, special operations and humanitarian relief missions,” he said.

There are three planned versions of the platform: the standard C-130J now flying, a stretched C-130J-30, and a KC-130J air refueling. The C-130J-30 has been lengthened by 15 feet, which allows the platform to carry two more pallets. Overall, he said, this version can carry 39 percent more troops (92 troops on the H and 128 on the J), eight pallets over six for the H version, 50 percent more container delivery system bundles, and 44 percent more paratroopers (64 H and 92 J).

“We have improved the high-hot capability,” he said. “High-hot” refers to high temperatures and higher field elevations, “which appeals to the Middle East market. It is more in tune to the Middle East hot weather environment,” Groesch said.

Lockheed has been in discussions with Kuwait, UAE, Oman and Qatar about the Super Hercules, he said. “We can carry 90 percent of everyone’s payload requirements. The aircraft has a 40 percent larger cargo compartment and can carry 160,000 pounds gross weight,” he said. The H version can only carry about 155,000 pounds. Groesch said that Lockheed had to beef up the wings to support the weight.

The aircraft can “get out of harm’s way” quicker than the H version. It takes the J version 14 minutes to climb 20,000 feet, compared with the H version’s 23 minutes. The C-130J also has a longer-range capability, at 2,210 nautical miles, over the 1,200 nautical miles of the older H versions.

“The Middle East is defining its long-range lift requirements and has been looking at the C-130J,” Groesch said. “As they define their requirements for the next 20 years, they are stationing to see how the J would efficiently and effectively help their requirements.”