PICTURE: Qatar's first C-130J transport revealed

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Lockheed Martin is on schedule to deliver its first C-130J to the Qatar Emiri Air Force later this year, with the tactical transport having recently left the paint hangar at its Marietta production site in Georgia.

Qatar ordered four stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s as part of an October 2008 contract worth around $394 million. This also covers the provision of spare parts, ground support and test equipment and personnel training services.

 qatar c-130j, lockheed martin
© Lockheed Martin

The C-130J's introduction will enhance Qatar's ability to perform humanitarian relief and other international missions. Its air force now has a detachment of six Dassault Mirage 2000-5s at Souda Bay, Crete, being flown in support of NATO's Operation Unified Protector campaign to safeguard Libyan civilians from attack by forces loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi.

 
© NATO

Used in an air policing capacity, the Mirage fighters (above) were deployed to the Mediterranean region with support from Qatar's two-strong fleet of Boeing C-17 strategic transports.