The UK Ministry of Defence has signed a £350 million ($547 million) extension to its Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS) programme for the Lockheed Martin C-130J/K with prime contractor Marshall Aerospace.

Announced on 28 May, the deal covers the provision of maintenance, repair and overhaul activities for the Royal Air Force's Hercules fleet at Marshall's Cambridge airport site, and support for those aircraft involved in operations in areas including Afghanistan.

 C-130J RAF - Marshall Aerospace

© Marshall Aerospace

The RAF is expected to continue operating the J-model Hercules until 2022

The MoD says its new agreement will save £170 million "by replacing several short-term contracts with one agreement to provide the maintenance of the whole Hercules fleet until the end of 2015".

The UK signed a 24-year HIOS arrangement with an expected total value of £1.5 billion in 2006, but in late 2010 outlined plans to retire its last C-130Js in 2022. Operations with the RAF's older C-130Ks are expected to end by December 2012. The Hercules fleet will be replaced by the Airbus Military A400M, with the UK due to receive its first of 22 examples in 2014.

Other beneficiaries of the new HIOS deal include Marshall's partner companies Lockheed - which has valued its involvement at around £134 million - and Rolls-Royce, plus propulsion system subcontractor Vector Aerospace.

Rolls-Royce has also secured a new contract to deliver continued technical support for the Conway turbofan engines that power the RAF's Vickers VC10 tanker/transports until the type's retirement from service in March 2013. The company says its new awards linked to the Hercules and VC10 are valued at about £100 million.

Source: Flight International