Lockheed Martin has successfully completed the maiden flight of the first of its six C-130J Super Hercules airlifters for India.

The C-130J aircraft will now complete a series of company and customer flight tests prior to delivery in December.

Lockheed will carry out the first test flights of the second and third C-130J aircraft in the coming weeks.

India has purchased the six C-130J-30 aircraft from the US under a $1bn deal to enhance operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army.

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

The Super Hercules, powered by four engines, can operate from rough, dirt strips and air drop troops and equipment into hostile areas.