LOCKHEED MARTIN has presented its final proposal to replace Royal Australian Air Force C-130s with the new C-130J Hercules and announced its first offset agreements. The proposal is for 12 aircraft to replace RAAF C-130Es, with options taking the potential total to 36, including five aircraft to replace Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130Es.

The company says that incentives tied to the initial 12 C-130Js and option aircraft could result in savings "upwards of $3 million per aircraft". The bid is valid until May 1996, but includes an incentive for a decision by the end of 1995. Deliveries could begin in 1997. Options include replacements for 12 RAAF C-130Hs and aircraft to meet Australian airborne early-warning and air-refuelling tanker requirements.

Lockheed Martin is offering A$250 million ($183 million) of industrial participation to three Australian companies. Hawker de Havilland has been nominated to produce carbonfibre-composite flaps for the first 180 C-130Js, with the potential for further orders and retrofits to earlier C-130s.

Honeywell Australia has been selected to supply 120 lap-top portable maintenance-aids, and C-130J supplier Parker Hannifin has licensed Australian company Aviall to produce flexible hoses for RAAF aircraft. Lockheed Martin is hoping that other suppliers will pitch in to enable it to meet its goal for Australian industrial participation.

The amount of UK industrial participation in the C-130J, reward for the Royal Air Force's launch order for 25 aircraft, is making it difficult to find work for Australian companies to perform, the manufacturer admits. Anticipating an RAAF order, Martin invited Australian companies to bid for work on the aircraft during the UK competition, but none responded, the company says.


Source: Flight International