France Places $650m Order for Lockheed Martin C-130 Transport Aircraft



Lockheed Martin C-130

Early next week, United States officers are expected to brief French military as well as procurement staff on the details of the Pentagon announcement that four Lockheed Martin C-130J airlifters are being offered to France for the price tag of $650 million. This estimated price, which was announced by the United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is significantly more than what the French armed forces had in mind, as France has set aside only €330 million, or US $354 million, in order to acquire the Hercules aircraft. Currently, French troops are in Africa engaging in combat, and are seeking full tactical support. The defense minister is expected to decide on the C-130J airlifters by the end of this year.

The United States officers are anticipated to brief the French Air Force, chief of staff, as well as Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office as part of a proposal of a draft letter of acceptable to the request from France. The $650 million price tag encompasses a variety of offerings, including potential upgrades for the aircraft and the accompanying equipment in the future as well as further spares and training, which is intended to minimize delays as requests will have to work their way through the lengthy and diligent United States congressional clearing process.

The core of this offering though, which is valued around $355 million, is for two Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transports and two KC-130J refueling planes with both variants equipped with Rolls-Royce AE-2100D turboprop engines, as well as four spare engines. A French source suggested that the defensive aids subsystems would cost roughly around $50 million, totaling in at $405 million-a price tag which should be within reach for France.

The defensive aid subsystems includes AN/AAR-47A(V)2 missile warning systems, AN/ALE 47 electronic countermeasure dispensers, AN/ALR-56M radar warning receivers, as well as electronics and radios. The French Air Force has strong desires to acquire these C-130J models, which would help to complement their fleet of 14 C-130Hs.

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