India is expected to issue a letter of request (LOR) to the US in 2010, to acquire six additional C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

Following the new order, the number of C-130J aircraft ordered for the IAF will increase to 12, according to PTI.

Earlier, India had ordered Lockheed Martin to built six C-130Js at a cost of $1bn, as part of an inter-governmental deal signed with the US in 2007.

Lockheed India head Roger Rose said they are expecting to receive a LOR soon from the Indian Government for additional C-130Js.

“The company was already preparing the infrastructure for housing 12 C-130Js in special operations configuration at the Hindan air base near here,” Rose said.

The IAF, which is operating a fleet of IL-76 heavy-lift and An-32 transport aircraft, has ordered the C-130Js for carrying medium loads of around 15–20t.

The world’s most advanced tactical airlifter, the C-130J has been designed for combat delivery, air-to-air refuelling, special operations, disaster relief and humanitarian missions.