Stewart Penney/LONDON

Denmark has moved closer to replacing its four Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules. It is evaluating bids from Airtruck with the An-7X - a Westernised Antonov An-70 - and from Lockheed Martin, offering its C-130J.

Airtruck and Lockheed Martin responded to a request for quotations at the end of last month. The air force expects to decide in about two months' time, says air material command head of transport aircraft branch Peter Gundelach.

He says the four aircraft are required as soon as possible, which realistically means 2002-4. Once the aircraft are in service, the Royal Danish Air Force's four C-130Hs will go on sale. Denmark included funding for new transports in its last defence budget (Flight International, 7-13 July, 1999).

The air force requested information in October last year from Airbus Military Company (AMC) Airtruck and Lockheed Martin, says Gundelach, but only two companies were asked to submit bids in November. Gundelach declines to name the omitted company, but it is understood that AMC's A400M was not considered as it could not meet the in-service date.

He says that, if the Hercules is selected, the air force would like the stretched C-130J-30, but is concerned that the strength of the dollar could force them to take the cheaper standard-length aircraft.

Gundelach says the air force is continuing operational testing of its Bombardier Challenger 604 before converting options for two aircraft. A leased Challenger in service is to be returned this year.

Source: Flight International