The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has finalised a contract with Lockheed Martin for the delivery of additional C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft to the national Air Force.
Unnamed MoD officials were quoted by FlightGlobal as saying that the letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) was signed on 27 December 2013.
Having an estimated value of $1.2bn, the contract covers six aircraft, six spare Rolls-Royce AE2100-D3 engines, eight ATK-built AN/AAR-47 missile warning systems, eight AAQ-22 Star SAFIRE III special operations suites, eight Rockwell Collins ARC-210 radios and 3,200 flare cartridges.
The contract will include delivery of eight AN/ALR-56M advanced radar warning receivers along with AN/ALE-47 counter-measures dispensing systems by BAE systems.
Scheduled to be acquired through the US Government’s foreign military sales (FMS) mechanism, the new aircraft will form part of the Eastern Air Command, and will be based at Panagarh in West Bengal, to fulfil requirements in India’s north-east region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The purchase was cleared by the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in September 2013, and the first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered within three years of the contract signing, according to the news agency.
The IAF currently operates six C-130J Super Hercules, which were acquired under a $1.2bn FMS deal from the US in early 2008, from Hindon Airbase, near Delhi, for special operations.
Configured for special mission roles, the IAF’s C-130J airlifters are equipped with an infrared (IR) detection set, which allows for precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions, and air-to-air refuelling capability.
Fitted with a glass cockpit, digital avionics and a new propulsion system with a six-bladed propeller, the C-130J Super Hercules is designed for airborne assault, search-and-rescue (SAR), scientific research support, weather reconnaissance and aerial refuelling, maritime patrol and aerial fire fighting missions.
Image: An Indian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Aero India 2013. Photo: courtesy of Pritishp333.