Country's armed forces consider options for replacing its ageing fleet of Hercules

Lockheed Martin is considering "innovative" financial schemes that would allow the Canadian Forces to start replacing its CC-130E fleet, which are some of the highest-time Hercules in operation.

The CF has outlined plans for a C$2 billion ($1.3 billion) transport purchase that could be met with 12 to 24 C-130Js, says Richard Singer, Lockheed Martin regional director business development-Canada. It operates 32 first-generation Hercules, 19 of them CC-130Es and the rest later-build CC-130Hs and stretched fuselage CC-130H-30s.

Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) has also considered the Airbus Military Company (AMC) A400M, Boeing C-17 Globemaster and a mix of the C-17, C-130J and the Alenia/Lockheed Martin C-27J twin-engined transport, which shares common systems with the C-130J.

Singer says a Canadian consultancy firm is collecting data for the DND on the various aircraft, and the next round of responses are due by the end of this month in time to allow studies to be completed by October. This could allow a contract signature for new transports next year.

"We have looked at innovative financing," says Singer, "but Canada has always self-financed." The ongoing studies are comparing a purchase with leasing and other methods of payment. "We have looked at financing and will continue to do so if we are asked."

Boeing has proposed a leasing deal for up to six C-17s based on the scheme used by the UK to acquire its four Globemasters. AMCis also likely to offer lease schemes based on Airbus's experience in the commercial market.

A staggered procurement is another possible solution, buying a few aircraft every year and slowly phasing out older machines, says Singer.

Source: Flight International