WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has notified Congress it wants to sell Libya two C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes, strengthening military ties between America and the burgeoning post-Gadhafi government.
The sale is worth an estimated $588 million and includes two of the Lockheed-produced aircraft, 10 Rolls Royce AE2100D3 engines, modifications for the planes, training and logistics support. The planes are of the C-130J-30 “stretch” variety, which adds 15 feet to the fuselage to create space for two extra pallets.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of Libya,” according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification posted on its website June 11. “The Government of Libya uses airlift to maintain the connection between the central government and the country’s outlying areas. The sale of these C-130Js to Libya will significantly increase its capability to provide in-country airlift support for its forces, thus strengthening its capacity in the security arena.
“Libya intends to use these aircraft primarily to move supplies and people within Libya. This medium-lift capability should assist with border security, the interdiction of known terrorist elements, and rapid reaction to internal security threats. In addition, Libya intends to utilize these aircraft in support of regional peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. Libya, which already operates a mix of legacy C-130s, will have little difficulty absorbing these aircraft, which include a three-year training and sustainment package.”
Initially entering American use in 1956, the C-130 has dominated the medium-lift market for almost 60 years. The C-130J, the most recent version, has been a hit for Lockheed, with 10 variants in various stages of production.