On November 15, as Lockheed Martin executives were traveling to the Dubai Airshow, news came through that the company’s LM-100J—the commercial version of the C-130J—had been granted FAA certification. While the military C-130J had also received civilian approval in its early years, the certification had lapsed as new systems were increasingly brought into the aircraft, requiring a new test effort with the LM-100J version to update the type certificate.
Flight trials were conducted with the first two LM-100Js, which have now been joined by a third aircraft, with another two now on the assembly line. Lockheed Martin (Pavilion P6) has received five orders to date, with the first of two aircraft for Fort Worth, Texas-based Pallas Aviation due for delivery in the first quarter of 2020.
In the meantime, in October the C-130J fleet passed the 2 million flight-hour mark, in the same month that Lockheed Martin delivered the 2,600th Hercules of all versions. Deliveries of the second-generation C-130J have topped 440 to 20 nations.
Interest remains high for both commercial and military Hercules, with the UAE interested in acquiring the ITAR-free LM-100J. Ammroc (Stand 605), a Lockheed Martin/Edge joint venture, is shortly to begin MRO work on Hercules at its new facility in Al Ain, which will be the only authorized service center in the region. Opportunities elsewhere include a NATO maritime patrol requirement, for which Lockheed Martin has pitched its C-130J-based Sea Hercules, while in the commercial field the night-capable LM-100J-based “Fire Herc” could find traction in the firefighting role.