LOCKHEED MARTIN stands to sell over 40 C-130J Hercules II transporters to Australia and New Zealand, with the former country placing a firm order for an initial batch of 12 aircraft on 21 December.

Deliveries of 12 stretched C-130J-30s, included in the A$900 million ($660 million) contract, will begin early in 1997. The aircraft will replace the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) 12 C-130Es.

The contract includes options for an additional 24 C-130Js for the RAAF, including aircraft to replace the service's 12 C-130Hs. The order could also fulfil pending requirements for airborne early-warning and aerial-refueling tanker aircraft.

Also included are options for eight C-130Js for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). New Zealand has until the turn of the century to exercise these options, to replace the RNZAF's five C-130Hs, but is guaranteed pricing based on Australia's bigger order.

Under offset agreements signed by Lockheed Martin, Australia's Hawker de Havilland will produce composite inboard and outboard flap sections for the C-130, while Honeywell Australia will develop a lap-top maintenance computer and Aviall Australia will manufacture hydraulic hoses and connectors.

Source: Flight International