Lockheed Martin is preparing the first of six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for India for a maiden flight scheduled in October 2010.

Lockheed has successfully completed the engine test of the first C-130J for the Indian Air Force (IAF) at its Marietta plant in Georgia in preparation for the maiden flight.

The C-130J will be equipped with an infrared detection set (IDS) to enable the IAF to conduct precision low-level flying operations, airdrops and landings in blackout conditions.

The Super Hercules, which can operate from rough and dirt strips, will perform the tactical portion of an airlift mission, and air drop troops and equipment into hostile areas.

India will purchase six stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s from the US as part of a $1bn deal to strengthen the airlift capability of its army and air force.