ILA: Lockheed touts C-130J's role alongside A400M

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Lockheed Martin is seeing strong and long-term interest in its C-130J tactical transport from the US government and military operators around the world.

"Our primary focus at this point is the USA, plus the Middle East and Asian markets," says Jim Grant, the company's vice-president customer engagement, air mobility and special operations programmes.

Additional opportunities also exist in Europe and Africa, where he believes the "J" could serve as a complement to Airbus Military's A400M. "The C-130J is very attractive for those countries which are buying the A400M as a strategic transport type," he adds.

 © Canadian air force

Lockheed has received orders for 288 C-130Js and delivered 195 of these so far. An opportunity to push this total to the 300 mark stands following the United Arab Emirates' previous selection of 12 aircraft. "We are still in negotiation with the customer, and are cautiously optimistic that we'll reach closure in the near future," says Grant.

South Africa, which late last year cancelled its order for eight A400Ms, could also be a potential future customer, he believes. "The South Africans appear to want a tiered solution. From all the indications we have there is considerable interest in an aircraft with the capabilities of the C-130J." Airbus Military also says that the nation could revive its interest in its product.

A recently delivered example assigned to the US Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein air base is on static display at the show.