WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin has nabbed a multiyear contract worth $5.3 billion to deliver 78 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the US armed forces.

Just before the New Year, the Pentagon announced the award of more than $1 billion for the first 32 aircraft of the second multiyear contract, according to a Dec. 31 company statement.

The overall contract, valued at $5.3 billion, provides funding for 30 MC-130Js, 13 HC-130Js and 29 C-130J-30s for the Air Force, as well as six KC-130Js for the US Marine Corps. The contract also includes an option for five HC-130Js for the Coast Guard.

The aircraft will be delivered between 2016 and 2020, according to the statement.

The announcement is a major victory for Lockheed Martin, particularly after concern late last year that spending cuts due to sequestration or a long-term continuing resolution would force the Air Force to back out of the deal. The agreement is also an achievement for the Pentagon — multiyear procurements provide significant savings as compared to annual buys.

"We are proud to partner with the U.S. government to continue to deliver to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard the world's most proven, versatile and advanced airlifter," said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin, according to the statement. "This multiyear contract provides true value to our U.S. operators as they recapitalize and expand their much-relied-upon Hercules aircraft, which has the distinction of being the world's largest and most tasked C-130 fleet."

Lockheed built 60 C-130Js for the Air Force and Marine Corps through the first multiyear contract, which ran from 2003 to 2008.

In a separate deal, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian recently confirmed that Paris will buy four C-130Js, estimated at $650 million.

"While there is not an official contract, we stand ready to support France's interest in acquiring C-130Js," Lockheed spokeswoman Stephanie Stinn said. "As a current operator of legacy C-130s, France knows the performance and versatility that only a Hercules can deliver."

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