LE BOURGET, France — Lockheed Martin on Tuesday launched a new special operations version of its C-130J Super Hercules specifically meant for international users.

The new C-130J-SOF would come loaded with a 30mm gun, a Hellfire missile system, and a suite of data link and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The company also envisions a menu of additional upgrades like aerial refueling capabilities and defensive systems such as directed infrared countermeasures, said Tony Frese, Lockheed's vice president of business development for air mobility and maritime missions.

"We have reached an ideal point in the C-130J's production and operational life that we know exactly how to outfit this aircraft for the type of conditions that special operators require," Frese told reporters. "Operators tell us they don't just want this aircraft, but they really do need these capabilities to help them."

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Depending on the configuration, the cost per aircraft would start in $85 million price range. A C-130J-SOF equipped for aerial refueling would sell for upward of that, Frese said.

The company sees a market of anywhere from 100 to 200 potential units, and would be able to deliver its first aircraft within 36 months of an order. Frese confirmed Lockheed is looking at New Zealand, France and Germany as possible customers.

"We came up with this configuration because we knew there was interest out there in the marketplace, and we do believe there is a high interest in all areas, Asia-Pacific especially," he said. "New Zealand, my understanding is they will be putting out an RFP [request for proposal] next year, and we'll be providing proposals back to New Zealand on that. They're in the requirements development stage right now, and we're happy to shape their requirements. We think this will, by the way."

The aircraft can be configured for a variety of missions, including ISR, inserting and extracting special operations personnel, airdrop resupply, and armed overwatch.

Frese was hesitant to compare the C-130J-SOF with U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command's AC-130 and MC-130, citing customer sensitivities. But compared to a baseline C-130J, the special operations version has more powerful generators and comes equipped with several sensors and communications systems — like an electro-optical/infrared sensor, satellite communications, and wideband data link — which would not normally come already installed. The aircraft is also constructed with additional armoring and provisions for aerial refueling, he said.

The C-130J-SOF would be the 10th production variant of the C-130J, and like the others would be produced in Marietta, Georgia.