Lockheed Martin has held discussions with several countries in Southeast Asia about a roll-on, roll-off maritime mission package for use aboard the C-130 Hercules tactical transport.
The Airborne Tactical Mission System, which Lockheed refers to as 'Artamis', allows operators to use transport aircraft for tactical missions at sea, ranging from basic applications such as search and rescue, up to higher-end applications such as anti-submarine warfare.
The company promoted the offering at the biennial Imdex Asia 2015 expo, a naval trade show in Singapore.
Lori Lindholm, business development principal at the US firm, says that in recent years the company has had discussions with several governments about Artamis, but declined to provide details.
Lindholm attributes the regional interest in improved maritime patrol capabilities to China’s increasing assertiveness in South China Sea territorial disputes, as well as recent calamities such as the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Lockheed sees an opportunity to tap this interest owing to the large installed base of C-130s in Southeast Asia. Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows that there are 61 C-130s in the region, most of which are ‘H’ variants. Of these 57 are listed as in service and four in storage. Brunei also has a letter of intent for a single C-130J.
She says the installation of the system generally involves the “hard-mounting” of sensors to the aircraft’s fuselage for applications such as electro-optical/infrared, radar, and an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver, which can detect ships equipped with AIS transponders.
To employ this hardware a pallet with work stations for two operators can be rolled onto the aircraft. Higher level surveillance missions, such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), would require additional hard mounts outside the aircraft, and perhaps workstation pallets sufficient for four to five operators.
Apart from the benefit of using one platform for mulitple missions, says Lindholm, Artimis also simplifies training and logistics through the use of a standard aircraft type.
In recent years Lockheed has also promoted its proposed SC-130J “Sea Herc” aircraft in the region. According to Lockheed, the Sea Herc incorporates the mission system of the P-3C Orion into the C-130J aircraft. The Sea Herc is optimised for the long-range anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare missions, offering wing-mounted anti-surface warfare missiles, internally mounted torpedo racks, and other specialised equipment.