Lockheed Martin has brought its C-130J tactical transport to the show with high hopes of securing new European customers affected by delays to the Airbus Military A400M, and celebrating a new contract with Oman.
While France remains committed to the A400M project, defence minister Hervé Morin confirmed last week that it is talking to Lockheed in an attempt to resolve its looming military transport crisis. Discussions are understood to surround a lease or purchase deal for a squadron of between 10 and 15 C-130Js.
The UK - the most vocal critic of Airbus Military's contractual failings - has already confirmed that it could lease or buy additional C-130Js to replace its K-model Hercules, which are more than 40 years old, and possibly cancel its order for 25 A400Ms.
"We are excited about the opportunity to meet the airlift needs of A400M nations," says Jim Grant, Lockheed's vice-president C-130J business development. "We are having detailed discussions with several of those countries."
Oman signed a contract on 5 June for one stretched fuselage C-130J-30 to be delivered from mid-2012. Others could follow, as its air force now flies three C-130Hs. Qatar ordered four C-130Js last October, while the United Arab Emirates is in negotiations for a 12-aircraft deal announced in February.
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Source: Flight Daily News