Feb 12, 2013
Lockheed Martin is exploring opportunities across various Indian services to offer its versatile C-130J platform. A contract for an additional six is in the offing as the U.S and Indian governments enter the final stage of discussions. Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), said in December: “There will be an increase in the induction of transport aircraft and helicopters in the Indian Air Force (IAF) and their role will be expanded for deployment in conflicts.”
Lockheed Martin has held discussions with the IAF “on the possibility of reducing India’s Avro replacement requirement (56) with (fewer) C130Js,” Abhay Paranjape, Director, Business Development, LM Aeronautics National Executive, India said. “The C-130J provides significant benefits to India. The infrastructure at the air base (Hindon) is already there, trained technicians, operational benefits and discussions are on with Tata (on manufacturing) and the IAF likes its capability. While the airlifter is expensive on the tail, it is not on capability,” said Paranjape.
Lockheed Martin is also presently in discussions with the IAF on maintenance options beyond 2014 when its present commitment runs out. If a Performance-Based-Logistics (PBL) option that offers a guaranteed rate of availability, is agreed upon, “we will need to look for (local) partnerships in future,” said Paranjape.