Lockheed Martin has awarded a contract to Quickstep to design and develop wing flaps for the upgraded C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft.
The $167m aircraft block upgrade is being undertaken by Lockheed under a contract awarded by the US Air Force (USAF) in December 2011 to overhaul C-130J Hercules into Block 8.1 configuration.
The Block 8.1 enhancement programme, consisting of both software and hardware capability expansions, will be installed in the aircraft.
The C-130J Hercules fleets are currently installed with the Block 6.0 configuration, while the Block 7.0 configuration is undergoing flight trials.
Hercules is a heavy-lift tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines that can accommodate a payload of up to 20t or more than 90 passengers.
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Crewed by two pilots and a load master, the aircraft features a glass cockpit, digital avionics and a new propulsion system with a six-bladed propeller.
The aircraft is used by USAF for performing airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refuelling, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting missions.
First aircraft parts are scheduled for delivery in 2014, while the orders for non-recurring activities for the manufacturing programme such as planning, tooling, training and project management are expected in the second quarter of 2012.
The potential value of the contract is estimated between $75m to $100m for five years.
The aircraft is also in service with Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Denmark, India, Italy, Norway, Qatar, and the UK air forces, as well as the US Coast Guard.
Image: Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft with its wing flaps fully extended. Photo: Quickstep.