Efforts by the UK Ministry of Defence to extend the life of several of its Lockheed Martin C-130K tactical transports have led to it awarding L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace an $18 million contract to replace the outer wings on three Royal Air Force aircraft.

The Canadian company, which has previously secured contracts to refurbish C-130 wings for customers including Israel and New Zealand, began work under the new deal at its Edmonton plant in Alberta during August, and expects to complete the contract in mid-2010.

The contract involves reconditioning work to be performed on wings acquired from the USA's Derco Aerospace, says L-3. The RAF aircraft are scheduled to arrive in Edmonton in the third and fourth quarters of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010 for outer wing replacement work, it adds.

"L-3 Spar offered us the opportunity to provide this war-winning capability in a cost-effective manner," says RAF Gp Capt Mark Hobbs, Hercules integrated project team leader in the UK's Defence Equipment and Support organisation. "The provision of outer wings will extend the life of a number of essential operational aircraft."

 C-130K Afghanistan
© Crown Copyright

Several of the RAF's short-fuselage C-130Ks are receiving refurbished or replacement outer wings, with nine aircraft required to remain in use until between 2012 and 2014 to cover for the late availability of the replacement Airbus Military A400M. The UK should receive its 25 A400Ms between 2010 and 2015, but does not expect the type to achieve full operating capability until 2018.

The UK has previously contracted Marshall Aerospace - prime contractor for its Hercules Integrated Operational Support deal - to refurbish outer wings for several C-130Ks.

Source: Flight International