An artist's rendering of Lockheed Martin's SC-130J 'Sea Herc.' (Lockheed Martin)
PARIS — Lockheed Martin is in talks with the UK, Canada and a Nordic nation to sell its new maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) version of the C-130J, and is due to enter talks to sell a coast guard version of the aircraft to Algeria.
“We will invite them to enter a dialogue for common requirements,” said Jack Crisler, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of new business on C-130 programs, during a presentation at the Paris Air Show on the SC-130J “Sea Herc.” The UK is one of the parties, and although Lockheed Martin has not named them, Canada and a Nordic nation are understood to be the other two.
Lockheed Martin envisions launching the Sea Herc in a basic, coast guard format, a second version adding air-to-surface warfare capabilities and a third version that adds ASW capabilities. The three interested nations would take the third version, Crisler said.
Crisler said he foresaw a market of 50-60 aircraft, based on a calculation of nations that operate the P-3 Orion but had yet to order mid-life upgrades for their aircraft, as Australia and New Zealand have.
Crisler said Lockheed Martin is meanwhile three months away from entering contract negotiations with a North African country to sell a C-130J with coast guard and overland ISR capabilities.
He declined to name the potential customer, which is understood to be Algeria, where Lockheed Martin held C-130J demonstration flights a year ago.
Crisler said the global C-130J fleet has meanwhile racked up 1 million flying hours, with 13 countries now flying 290 aircraft. Some 69 aircraft have been delivered to 11 countries in the past two years, with 45 orders received over the period, he said.
This summer, the company is hoping to test fly a Royal Air Force aircraft with new, Block 7 upgrades on board, and is planning ahead to a Block 8.1 upgrade, which will focus on software upgrades. Production of the aircraft is up from 12 in 2008 to 24 now, a rate that would remain for “the foreseeable future,” Crisler said.
Crisler said he also predicted a market for more than 70 L-100J models, planned to replace the 70 civil cargo carrying versions of the Hercules now in service. ■
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