The first lot of five C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will undergo 12-year servicing – called depot maintenance — at a Lockheed Martin-approved Heavy Maintenance Center (HMC) beginning 2022.
India has a fleet of 12 C-130J, procured in three tranches. In March 2008 a deal was inked for $ 962.4 million to get the first lot of six of such aircraft. The first one was delivered in December 2010 and all the six were delivered by December 2011.
One of that lot crashed in March 2014. India received additional six C-130Js in 2017 and one in 2019, the last one being replacement for the plane which crashed in 2014.
Now the five planes of the first lot will be due for depot maintenance in phases from December 2022. Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $328.8 million, five-year contract from the IAF, to provide dedicated and comprehensive support for the IAF’s fleet of 12 C-130J. This contract includes the depot maintenance which is higher level of check on systems of the plane.
The Lockheed Martin website lists two such centres for HMC: The Cascade Aerospace, Inc, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada and Marshall Aerospace Cambridge, England. See link
Lockheed Martin is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the C-130Js, which is the tactical airlifter of choice for 26 operators in 22 nations.
The terms of Contract
Called the Follow On Support II (FOS) contract, Lockheed Martin teams will manage the program, logistics and engineering support elements necessary to sustain the IAF’s C-130J fleet. The contract spans a five-year-period, is a direct commercial sale, and is a continuation of a five-year FOS I contract where Lockheed Martin provided similar support for the IAF’s C-130J fleet.
The FOS II contract includes Lockheed Martin’s sustainment efforts for the IAF’s entire Super Hercules fleet, as well as extended options including Lockheed Martin support for the C-130J airframe, Contractor Furnished Equipment (CFE), peculiar and common spareable items, engines, propellers, software, publication services, ground handling equipment (GHE), ground support equipment (GSE) and test equipment.
A total of eight employees representing Lockheed Martin, GE (propeller manufacturer) and Rolls-Royce (engine manufacturer) serve as on-site technical support for the duration of the contract.
Indian fleet is active
The IAF’s C-130J Super Hercules have a highly integrated and sophisticated configuration primarily designed to support India’s special operations requirement. The aircraft also are equipped with air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations. India’s C-130Js are also used to support a variety of critical missions, including humanitarian aid, airlift, natural disaster support, and search and rescue operations. Recently, the IAF has been extensively using its fleet of 12 Super Hercules for humanitarian efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for transportation of relief materials, equipment and personnel in the areas affected by cyclones Yaas and Tauktae.
“It is an honor to continue to partner with the Indian Air Force to support one of the most active C-130J fleets in the world. Through an integrated team and dedicated support, Lockheed Martin ensures the IAF’s C-130J fleet is available and ready for every mission,” Said Rod McLean.
India’s connection to the C-130J goes beyond its fleet of Super Hercules with the Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) joint venture that is the single, global source of C-130J empennage assemblies included on all new Super Hercules aircraft. Located in Hyderabad, TLMAL exemplifies the Government of India’s “Make in India” objectives and has delivered more than 120 empennages over its first 10 years of operations.