The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has signed a contract extension with Airbus Australia Pacific to continue providing sustainment services for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) C-130J Hercules transport aircraft fleet.
Airbus’ through life support (TLS) sustainment contract, which was originally signed on 11 March 2009, is valued at A$175m ($125.75m).
The original contract will expire on 31 December 2022 and comes with six-year rolling options for further extensions. It has been extended by an additional two years and will run until 2024.
The extension is based on the performance and cost containment delivered by Airbus under the contract.
Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Airbus reduced sustainment costs by $10m over the 2019 to 2024 period.
“The contract extension out to 2024 will secure the ongoing employment of approximately 220 industry personnel, located at RAAF Base Richmond.”
Airbus will continue to provide engineering, maintenance and aircraft servicing, and logistics and supply support for the C-130J fleet.
Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo said: “Australian content is valued at approximately $110m for the two-year extension and comprises about 62% of the contract.”
About 12 C‑130J Hercules are currently operated by the RAAF No 37 Squadron from Base Richmond in New South Wales.
The tactical military airlifter is designed to carry out a wide range of missions such as special operations, aerial refuelling, close air support, and search and rescue.
Lockheed Martin is serving as the principal subcontractor and is also the original equipment manufacturer of the C-130J aircraft.
Several Australian small to medium-sized enterprises are also involved with performing work under the contract.
The C-130J aircraft is expected to undergo the block upgrade programme in 2021. This project is an avionics modernisation programme and may see Airbus seeking support from the Australian industry.