C-130J Hercules fly over the Nevada Test and Training Range during a US Air Force Weapons School Mobility Forces Exercise. (US Air Force)
WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce have reached a long-term agreement on delivery of 588 engines for the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, the companies announced Thursday.
The nearly $1 billion agreement covers procurement of new AE 2100 engines through the end of 2018 for all customers, including the US Air Force.
Each Super Hercules requires four AE 2100 engines, so the 588 purchased could represent up to 147 new platforms built during this time period. However, that number could be lower, as contracts often include spare engines. The purchase is roughly split in half between US platforms and international customers.
The purchase is part of a larger agreement that secures Rolls-Royce and the AE 2100 as the engine of choice for the C-130J through 2025. Tom Hartmann, Rolls’ senior vice president for customer business, said the company hopes for another engine block purchase after the conclusion of this order to cover the remaining years of the agreement.
The deal ensures Rolls will maintain a stranglehold on engines for the C-130J, which is expected to remain popular around the globe over the next decade. Lockheed, in turn, gets prices locked in at a cheaper rate per engine than they might otherwise have.
Hartmann declined to go into details on the AE 2100 cost-per-unit, but noted that the engines covered in the multiyear agreement are cheaper than those that would be sold internationally, a direct result of buying them in bulk.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, signed into law by President Obama in December, contained language authorizing a multiyear buy of C-130J aircraft for the Air Force; funding for that group was included in the appropriations bill passed this January. This contract would cover the 78 platforms included in that multiyear agreement.
There are over 300 C-130J models in service in 15 countries, according to company figures. ■