The Royal Norwegian Air Force will receive its first of four Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 transports next year, under an accelerated foreign military sales deal with the USA. Oslo is expected to sign a $304 million contract for the aircraft in early 2008, with its first two examples - the second of which is to be handed over during 2009 - to be diverted from production for the US Air Force.

Norway's two remaining aircraft will be delivered in 2010, says Lockheed, which on 7 November received a $152 million contract from the US government to acquire long-lead items for the stretched-fuselage Hercules.

 C-130J pair
© US Air Force

Announced in April, the deal had previously been expected to value up to $520 million, with the aircraft then scheduled to replace Norway's current six C-130Hs - operations of which started in 1969 - from 2009. The sale represents the first FMS deal for the C-130J, which is already in service in Australia, Denmark, Italy, the UK and the USA.