Lockheed Martin has secured its first export customer for the KC-130J tanker, with Kuwait having signed a $245 million deal to acquire three of the type.
Announcing details of the Foreign Military Sales contract on 27 May, the company said its new customer will receive its first aircraft in late 2013, with deliveries to conclude the following year. The Kuwaiti deal has been placed via the US Navy.
“The Kuwait air force's new KC-130Js will provide aerial refuelling for its [Boeing] F-18 fleet, and augment its current airlift fleet of three Lockheed Martin L-100s,” the manufacturer says. The nation has 35 F/A-18C/Ds, as listed in Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database.
“KC-130Js will provide Kuwait with an effective, efficient and reliable multi-mission capability,” says Jim Grant, Lockheed’s vice president for C-130 business development. The company says additional roles for the type will include air transport, disaster relief and humanitarian duties.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency last July notified Congress of a possible $1.8 billion sale of eight KC-130Js plus associated equipment to Kuwait.
© Cpl Alison Martinez/US Marine Corps
The KC-130J was developed for the US Marine Corps, which has operated the variant in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2005. The service has an active inventory of 36 KC-130Js, and plans to field a further 10 examples, MiliCAS says.
Lockheed is also producing the HC-130J combat rescue tanker for the US Air Force, with the Air Combat Command to also acquire a new fleet of MC-130J tankers.