Biggest-yet C-130J Sale Proposed to Saudi Arabia

 - November 16, 2012, 3:20 PM
The Royal Saudi Air Force operates 51 older Lockheed Martin C-130s and seeks 25 new C-130J and KC-130Js. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

The Pentagon notified the U.S. Congress on November 9 of a proposed foreign military sale (FMS) of 25 Lockheed Martin C-130Js and KC-130Js to Saudi Arabia, a transaction valued at $6.7 billion. The sale to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) would be the largest FMS in the history of the C-130J program, according to Lockheed Martin.

Saudi Arabia has requested 20 C-130J-30 stretched versions of the four-engine turboprop airlifter, five KC-130J aerial refueling tankers, 100 installed and 20 spare Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 engines and 25 Link 16 data communications terminals, known as multifunctional information distribution systems (MIDS).

“Saudi Arabia needs these aircraft to sustain its aging fleet, which faces increasing obsolescence,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency states in the notification to Congress. The kingdom received its first C-130 in 1965 and currently operates 51 older versions of the aircraft. The RSAF performs aerial refueling using the C-130 and Boeing KE-3A, a modified 707-300.

Lockheed Martin reported a backlog of 67 C-130Js for 14 international customers, including Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Tunisia. The U.S. Air Force has taken delivery of 77 C-130Js. The C-130J-30 adds 15 feet to the fuselage, increasing usable space in the aircraft’s cargo compartment for two more pallets of equipment. The company said 157 J-30s have been ordered overall.