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Lockheed Martin: “The Only Replacement for a HERCULES is a HERCULES.”

12 customers in Latin America operate the C-130

As Embraer touts the benefits of its developmental KC-390 transport to its domestic market, Lockheed Martin maintains that its C-130J HERCULES is still appealing to nations in South America that wish to leverage the legacy of the US-built transport.

The region is a customer of legacy variants of the C-130, including operators of the A, B, E and H models, as well as a number of civil L-100s. Eleven customers in South America operate the C-130, totalling 12 if including Mexico, but is yet to find a customer on the continent for the J model.

Lockheed hopes to build on these legacy sales, and believes that an aircraft with such an international footprint as the HERCULES is appealing to countries in the region, which can share commonality with the other 17 C-130J customers worldwide.

Speaking to Monch at the LAAD exhibition in Rio, Anthony Frese, vice-president of business development for air mobility and maritime missions at the company, says that in terms of replacing systems already in service such as the C-130H, “the only replacement for a HERCULES is a HERCULES.”

The reason they are talking to us is because of the missions that they can do with a HERCULES,” he added. “The aircraft is really suited for this region…I think the C-130 is a unique aircraft for this part of the world.”

Brazil is on contract for 28 KC-390 examples – plus the two prototypes that are carrying out certification testing – with the aircraft receiving support from the government and a number of international partners including Argentina, the Czech Republic, and Portugal.

Brazil also operates the C-130 B and H, which is the largest legacy fleet for the type regionally.

Interoperability is key, and we see that more and more here,” Frese added.

He noted that much of the appeal comes from the US Air Force’s use of the C-130, as well as the specialied missions it carries out, and the support that comes with the established programme.

Most of our international customers capitalise on that,” Frese notes. He added that a lot of international customers do not buy large numbers of aircraft, so it makes sense to tap into an established network that comes with programmes such as the HERCULES.

Additionally, Lockheed has two service centres in South America out of 14 worldwide, which could support any new buy.

Beth Stevenson


For more information on the C-130 and all its variants and customers, please see Transport Aircraft SPECIAL: C-130 in MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #2/2017 (available here; contents here): C-130 Overview, news, armament, component, and industry overview.



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