Lockheed Martin is offering to reduce the price of the C-130J Hercules by stripping out some of the more expensive systems. The U.S.-built airlifter is facing new competition later this decade, when Embraer’s yet-to-fly KC-390 becomes available.
The company has designated the new version C-130XJ. The “X” is short for X-pandable, meaning that the features that are removed from the aircraft could be subsequently reinstated. In a briefing at the Singapore Airshow, the company provided few details of the proposed C-130XJ. George Standridge, Lockheed Martin vice president of business development, suggested that the electronic warfare and cargo handling systems could be downgraded, for those customers who did not need to make deliveries or airdrops under combat conditions. Standridge was not willing to quote a price for the C-130XJ, other than to note that the unit recurring flyaway cost should be “10 to 15 percent lower” than a standard short-fuselage C-130J.
Standridge also declined to provide much detail about another new designation, the SC-130J. This is a maritime patrol aircraft that benefits from the addition of mission systems that the company previously developed for the P-3 Orion. Lockheed Martin has been offering roll-on, roll-off mission kits for the C-130 for some years, including for maritime surveillance, as well as for medical evacuation and signals intelligence.
The company has delivered 250 of the 319 C-130Js on firm order, in eight configurations. The latest customers are the air forces of India, Iraq, Qatar, Oman and Tunisia.