New Delhi will purchase an additional Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transport following approval from the defence acquisition council (DAC).
“The additional aircraft is being procured as a replacement for the one that was lost in an accident in March 2014,” says a source familiar with the matter. Another source corroborates the decision.
The DAC is headed by defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
At the March 2016 Defexpo show in Goa, Lockheed Martin officials had confirmed that discussions were underway for the additional order. A year earlier, at the Aero India show in 2015, they were also confident that a replacement order would be forthcoming.
The 2014 crash resulted in the loss of all five crew aboard the aircraft. The lost aircraft was the third C-130J delivered to India as part of a six aircraft order placed in 2008.
The Indian air force operates five examples of the special mission configured tactical transports, which are flown by 77 Sqn and based at Hindan air force base near New Delhi.
A repeat order for six more of the type was contracted for in December 2013. Deliveries will commence from 2017 and the special mission configured tactical transports are to be based at Panagarh in India’s eastern state of West Bengal.
Company officials believe that India could operate as many as two dozen C-130Js over the long term.
Lockheed Martin has also been contracted to provide sustainment support for India’s C-130J fleet to 2020. Lockheed Martin joint venture partner Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) produces the empennage and centre wing box for the C-130J.