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Aero India 2023

Lockheed Martin to hand over first IAF C-130J tomorrow

C-130J transport aircraft on

NEW DELHI (PTI): US Air Force (USAF) will take delivery of the first C-130J transport aircraft on behalf of Indian Air Force (IAF) from American major Lockheed Martin at their facility near Atlanta on Thursday.

The C-130J aircraft is expected to considerably enhance IAF's special missions capability.

The first of these four-engine 'Hercules' aircraft will be brought to India by first week of February next year by an IAF aircrew that is already training in the US to take over the aircraft from the USAF.

"There will be a formal ceremony tomorrow at Marietta near Atlanta in the US when the first of the six C-130J ordered by India will be handed over to the USAF," a Lockheed Martin official said here.

USAF is executing the USD 950-million contract signed by the two countries in 2008 under the US government's Foreign Military Sales route that includes an offset clause under which the firm will invest 30 per cent of the deal amount back in Indian defence industry.

The six aircraft will be used by IAF for the Indian Special Forces operations. The aircraft will be based at Hindan in Ghaziabad just outside the capital, where the modernisation works to base the aircraft has been completed.

Nine sets of IAF crew comprising 18 pilots, nine load masters and nine combat system operators are currently undergoing training in the US.

Of them, five sets of crew members would complete their training in February next year.

"Training involves classroom studies, computer based applications, simulator and flight operations. Training is being conducted at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas and Marietta. Additionally, nearly 100 maintenance officers and technicians are also being trained at these locations," a Lockheed Martin official said.

After completing pilot flight training, the first two aircraft will be flown to India early next year by the IAF crew, he said. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered two in early summer and two in late summer of next year.

In keeping with IAF requirements, the US government offered a unique C-130J configuration modified for special mission roles and these will be the first uniquely configured aircraft in the IAF fleet for its special operations.

The aircraft will be able to perform precision low-level flying, air drops, and landing in blackout conditions. Special features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environment.

In addition these aircraft will have refueling probes, advance radar warning receivers and counter measure dispensing system for extended range and additional safety.


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