Lockheed Martin has delivered its final Hercules under a six-aircraft order for the German air force, while the company continues to see strong sales demand for the type.

Berlin has received three C-130J tactical transports and a trio of KC-model tankers, with the assets now operational as part of a joint unit at Evreux air base in France: Paris also has two of each version.

“I have met with both the French and Germans here, and both have expressed how well it has gone,” Larry Gallogly, Lockheed’s director, customer requirements for air mobility and maritime missions, told FlightGlobal at the ILA Berlin air show on 6 June.

While the nations have no stated requirement to purchase more of the type, he notes: “We would love to see them expand their fleet.”

Luftwaffe KC-130J ILA 2024

Source: Craig Hoyle/FlightGlobal

Berlin has acquired six Hercules, including a trio of KC-130J tankers

Meanwhile, Lockheed is in the process of reducing annual output of the C-130J from 24 to 20 units, in part due to the US Air Force nearing the completion of its purchases of the aircraft for National Guard and Reserve units.

The company is working towards agreeing a fourth multi-year procurement deal with the US Department of Defense. “That will focus heavily on [US] navy aircraft,” Gallogly says, with the service seeking to replace aged C-130-model tankers and potentially to acquire aircraft to perform TACAMO – or ‘take charge and move out’ – nuclear command missions.

International production also continues, with aircraft now on contract for New Zealand and the Philippines, and talks advancing to finalise a 24-unit Foreign Military Sales deal for Australia.

“There is robust demand from the US government and our international customers. We see very strong demand throughout Europe and Asia for replacing their current airlift fleets with C-130Js,” he says.

One near-term opportunity is with Sweden – Lockheed is hoping for a decision from Stockholm later this year on replacing its veteran C-130H fleet.

“We have provided all of the information that we can to support Sweden’s decision, and are awaiting their decision,” he says. Its neighbour and fellow recent NATO entrant Finland also is currently assessing its tactical airlift requirements.

Gallogly notes that 26 operators in 22 nations now fly the J-model Hercules, with the global fleet having amassed nearly 3 million flying hours.


Without directly referencing Embraer’s rival C/KC-390, Gallogly claims the four-engined C-130J offers operational advantages.

“We move the equipment further and burn a lot less fuel than a two-engined jet airlifter,” he says. “That speed does come at a significant cost.”

Later this year will see the 70th anniversary of the first flight by a C-130, with the latest model expected to remain in demand for several more years to come.

“We see production well into the latter part of the next decade,” Gallogly says.

“The aircraft evolves constantly,” he notes, with deliveries now being made in the Block 8.1 operating standard. “The innovation has just been spectacular, and that’s not stopping.”

Meanwhile, Lockheed has put its derivative LM-100J on the backburner.

Cirium fleets data shows that five examples are operated by Pallas Aviation, while Algeria also took two early aircraft, which were adapted for air force use. It also records a combined 20 cancellations for the type, by South Africa’s Safair and Brazilian start-up Bravo Cargas, which failed to launch operations.

“We have not seen robust demand for the commercial variant of the J, so we haven’t had follow-on customers,” Gallogly says of the decision.