The Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrated the induction to service of its first Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules at Hindon Air Force Station, India, on Feb. 5.
The aircraft is the first of six C-130Js ordered under a U.S. Foreign Military Sale in late 2008. Senior representatives from the Indian and U.S. governments and air forces were present for the historic event.
“The Indian Air Force is happy to induct the C-130J Super Hercules, the most potent and versatile aircraft in its class,” said Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, IAF Chief of Air Staff. “It is an important milestone in transformation of the IAF that is presently underway. The IAF will fly an American aircraft after a gap of more than two decades after the Super Connie, and it is a historic moment for both countries.”
The last U.S. aircraft flown by the IAF was a Lockheed Super Constellation, a type retired from the country’s fleet more than two decades ago.
This is India’s first experience with the C-130 so the package being provided by the U.S. government is comprehensive. The contact includes six aircraft, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spares, ground support and test equipment, servicing carts, forklifts, loading vehicles, cargo pallets and a team of technical specialists who will be based in India during a three-year initial support period. Also included in the package is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities. The remaining five aircraft will be delivered later this year.
The IAF’s C-130J Super Hercules is a highly integrated and sophisticated configuration primarily designed to support India’s special operations requirement. Equipped with an Infrared Detection Set (IDS), the aircraft can perform precision low level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions. Self-protection systems and other features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defense environments. The aircraft also is equipped with air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations.
The C-130J is ideally suited to India’s mission environment, which often involves operating out of austere, high elevation airstrips in hot conditions. The C-130J is powered by four Rolls Royce AE2100 engines and Dowty six-bladed props that provide the aircraft with significant power. The C-130J has been operated for the past several years in the mountainous areas of Afghanistan in conditions similar to India and performed exceptionally well.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 132,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.