Lockheed Martin's C-130J Super Hercules could be adapted for an entirely new mission, if UK company Marshall Aerospace gets its way.

Eyeing an opportunity raised by the UK's cancellation of its BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft programme late last year, the maintenance, repair and overhaul specialist is offering to adapt several Royal Air Force tactical transports for the mission.

"Marshall Aerospace is proposing to fill key elements of the maritime patrol function by using existing C-130 assets, combined with equipment already developed by the Ministry of Defence," the company said.

Lockheed Martin C-130J

The proposed "quick change conversion" would provide "an innovative and extremely cost-effective alternative for patrolling the UK's coastal areas", it added.

In addition to installing some of the mission equipment already acquired for the axed MRA4 fleet, such as the Thales Searchwater 2000 radar, the Cambridge-based company would make other adaptations.

These would include fitting an electro-optical/infrared sensor, onboard operator stations, sonar buoy dispensers and long-range fuel tanks. Some of the equipment "can be installed at short notice", said Marshall.

The Nimrod MRA4 programme was cut after an investment worth more than £4 billion ($6.5 billion), as part of the UK's Strategic Defence and Security Review. Nine aircraft had been due to be delivered to the RAF from late 2011, following years of development delays.

The US Air Force is displaying one of its C-130Js here at the show.

Source: Flight Daily News