The first of six C-130J Super Hercules for India took to the skies for its maiden flight on 5th October. The aircraft will now complete a series of company and customer flight tests prior to delivery in December. The second and third aircraft are due to fly within the next few weeks.
India ordered six C-130J to be delivered by 2011, with options to purchase six more.
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules is the most advanced air-lifter ever built. The C-130J combines the latest in aerospace technology with a proven, rugged airframe design, resulting in an aircraft that gives an operator more capability with greater operational efficiency.
This is India’s first experience with C-130s so the package being provided by the U.S. government is a complete solution. The package includes six aircraft, three years of initial support, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spares, ground support and test equipment, servicing carts, forklifts, loading vehicles, cargo pallets, and a team of technical specialists who will be based in India during the three year initial support period. Also included in the package is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities. In addition, the C-130J Super Hercules will provide the Indian Air Force with modern and effective airlift to support a wide range of national requirements.
In keeping with IAF requirements, the US Government has offered a unique C-130J configuration modified for special mission roles. Equipped with an Infrared Detection Set (IDS), the aircraft will be able to perform precision low-level flying, airdrops, and landing in blackout conditions. Self protection systems and other features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environments. In addition the aircraft is equipped with air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations. Lockheed Martin will integrate this equipment and other capabilities into the Indian configuration as agreed between the governments.
The Indian Air Force’s new Super Hercules will be the longer fuselage or “stretched”; variant of the C-130J, similar to those being delivered to the U.S. Air Force. Deliveries to India will begin in 2011. India joins the growing number of nations with C-130J fleets including the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom. The C-130J carries eight 463L pallets, 97 medical litters, 24 CDS bundles, 128 combat troops and 92 paratroops.