Oil spill opens C-130 export sale to China

Photo courtesy US Air Force

China may be the next export customer for the Lockheed Martin C-130.


The White House on Friday posted this letter from President Barack Obama to Rep Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives:

“I hereby report to the Congress that it is in the national interest of the United States to terminate the suspensions under section 902(a)(3) of the Act with respect to the issuance of temporary munitions export licenses for exports to the People’s Republic of China insofar as such restrictions pertain to the C-130 cargo aircraft to be used in oil spill response operations at sea.”

This is quite an interesting development. There does seem to be a legitimate pretext. C-130s helped spray oil dispersal in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April. China also has been dealing with a much smaller oil spill in the Yellow Sea since July. Meanwhile, the Congressional notification comes a few days before US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates meets his Chinese counterpart in Hanoi.

But it’s still surprising to see the US lift a strict embargo on arms sales to China for a C-130. Why? China already owns a fleet of C-130-like Shaanxi Y-8s, a copy of the Antonov An-12. Moreover, China is already building a C-130 look-alike called the Y-9. China also has a long history of re-engineering military and commercial aircraft.

Monday is a bank holiday for the US government, but I hope to start getting answers this week.


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7 Responses to Oil spill opens C-130 export sale to China

  1. Herkeng130 11 October, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    If they could get their Y-9 going there wouldn’t be much need for our Herks or Jerks. I personally do not think we should be selling anything military to the Chinese but it wouldn’t be hard for them to just find one and reverse engineer it.

  2. jetcal1 11 October, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    The approval might be there from the State Department. But would LMCO really sell?

  3. HerkEng130 12 October, 2010 at 4:12 am #

    Why not? It’ll be a quick buck for LockMart in these less than friendly gov. vs. defense industry times. The C-130 is far from secret, it’s not like by selling these that they are trading F-22A knowledge.

  4. John666 12 October, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    I wonder how long it will take them to disassemble it? Then how long it will take them to reassemble it so they can deny disassembling it? Not to be rude but it does resemble how they buy and disassemble Russian aircraft

  5. jetcal1 12 October, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Who knows maybe LMCO will move the line to China like Cessna did with the C162!

  6. Phaid 12 October, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    China imported three Lockheed L-100s (civilian version of C-130) in 1987 and used them until 2001 when they were retired. If they wanted to take apart and clone a C-130, they could already do it.

  7. norco shootout 18 November, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

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