Lockheed Martin hopes to boost the popularity of its C-130J tactical transport and in-development LM-100J commercial freighter by establishing a new international training centre for the types.
To be set up at its Marietta production site in Georgia, the centre is scheduled to open during the first quarter of 2018, says Vic Torla, business director for training solutions at Lockheed’s Mission Systems and Training business unit.
“We’ve been aware of increasing demand for some time now,” says Torla, who notes that the US Air Force’s capacity to provide training for international C-130J customers at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas is reducing as it shifts to operating more of the new-generation Hercules.
Likely to deliver around 2,000h of pilot instruction per year using one simulator, the centre will support initial pilot qualification tasks, plus mission, refresher and instructor training services, Torla says. The reconfigurable device will be used by customers of both models, with the main difference being the omission of military mission system equipment from the LM-100J.
“With the launch of the LM-100J it’s the perfect time to accommodate both kinds of operator,” Torla says. Construction work on a new simulator building will start early in 2016, and the company expects to see a 50:50 mix between military and commercial users.
Lockheed launched the development of its commercial LM-100J after signing a letter of agreement with Ireland-based ASL Aviation last year. The company plans to acquire 10 examples, for operation by its Safair subsidiary in South Africa.
According to Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database, Lockheed’s confirmed order backlog for the C-130J includes aircraft for India, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the USA, with numerous other sales opportunities remaining.
Torla says Lockheed and its training partner CAE have so far delivered 18 Level-D C-130J simulators to the USAF and international customers Australia, Canada, Italy and the UK.
“Lockheed Martin has provided training since the US Air Force’s C-130J stood up in the late 1990s, and we see the new centre as an extension of that,” he adds.