Lockheed Martin Awarded $15 Billion C-130J Contract

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a massive $15 billion indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract in support of the C-130J program.

This contract (FA8625‐20‐D‐3000) involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) at Wright‐Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the primary contracting activity.

The contract is for the development, integration, retrofit and production activities for all C-130J variants. This contract provides flexibility to accommodate the broad enterprise of activities associated with the C-130J program. Fiscal 2018 and 2019 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $3.3 million are being obligated at the time of award.

The work for the contract will be performed in Marietta, Georgia, and is expected to be completed July 16, 2030.

C-130J Super Hercules

The C-130J Super Hercules is a comprehensive update of the legacy C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft, developed by the American company, Lockheed Martin.

C-130J Super Hercules
A new C-130J Super Hercules takeoffs from the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Georgia, May 27, 2020. (Lockheed Martin photo)

Compared to older C-130s, the J model climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance. The C-130J-30 is a stretch version, adding 15 feet to the fuselage, increasing usable space in the cargo compartment.

C-130J/J-30 major system improvements include advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics, color multifunctional liquid crystal and head-up displays and state-of-the-art navigation that includes a dual inertial navigation system and GPS. The aircraft also features fully integrated defensive systems, low-power color radar, digital moving map display, new turboprop engines with six-bladed all-composite propellers and a digital auto pilot. The C-130J/J-30 also includes improved fuel, environmental and ice-protection and an enhanced cargo-handling system.

The C-130 Hercules primarily performs the tactical airlift missions. The aircraft is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips and is the prime transport for airdropping troops and equipment into hostile areas.

The C-130J is a proven aircraft, with more than 400 C-130Js having been delivered to over 21 nations, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

C-130J Production Variants:

C-130J Super Hercules:

Basic tactical airlifter variant.


The C-130J-30 is a stretch version of the C-130J. It adds 15 feet to the fuselage, increasing usable space (two more pallets of equipment) in the cargo compartment.

AC-130J Ghostrider:

The AC-130J Ghostrider is the armed gunship variant of the C-130J.

The AC-130J’s primary missions are close air support (CAS), air interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Close air support missions include troops in contact, convoy escort and point air defense. Air interdiction missions are conducted against preplanned targets or targets of opportunity and include strike coordination and reconnaissance and overwatch mission sets. The AC-130J will provide ground forces an expeditionary, direct-fire platform that is persistent, ideally suited for urban operations and delivers precision low-yield munitions against ground targets.

The AC-130J is modified with the Precision Strike Package (PSP), which includes a mission management console, robust communications suite, two electro-optical/infrared sensors, advanced fire control equipment, precision guided munitions delivery capability as well as trainable 30mm and 105mm weapons.

EC-130J Commando Solo:

The EC-130J Commando Solo variant is designed to conduct Military Information Support Operations (MISO), psychological operations (leaflet drops) and civil affairs broadcasts in AM, FM, HF, TV and military communications bands.

EC-130Js are assigned to the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), and are operated by the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 193rd Special Operations Wing (193 SOW).

HC-130J Combat King II:

The HC-130J Combat King II is the U.S. Air Force’s only dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform and is flown by Air Combat Command (ACC).

This C-130J variation specializes in tactical profiles and avoiding detection and recovery operations in austere environments. Air Education and Training Command (AETC) also operates HC-130Js, training crews for operational missions.

HC-130J Super Hercules:

The HC-130J is the long-range search and rescue (SAR)/maritime surveillance variant of the C-130J flown by the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG).

The aircraft’s mission system includes automatic identification and direction-finding capabilities; long range, multi-mode radar; electro-optical and infraread, or EO/IR, sensor turret that provides both imagery and target data; advanced open architecture mission system processor; and an extensive communications suite.

The HC-130J features a 20 percent increase in speed and altitude and a 40 percent increase in range compared to the HC-130H model.


The KC-130J is the aerial refueling tanker and tactical airlifter version of the C-130J developed for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC).

The new KC-130J builds on proven tanker designs while taking full advantage of tremendous technological and performance improvements inherent in the basic C-130J aircraft. Several international operators also fly the KC-130J.

MC-130J Commando II:

The MC-130J Commando II multi-mission combat transport/special operations tanker, assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). This variant was originally named Combat Shadow II.

As it replaces the older MC-130N/P Combat Shadow II aircraft, the MC-130J provides AFSOC with a modern aircraft capable of worldwide employment for missions requiring clandestine single- or multi-ship low-level aerial refueling of Special Operation Force vertical and tilt-rotor aircraft and/or infiltration, resupply and exfiltration by airdrop, or landing on remote airfields.

WC-130J Weatherbird:

The WC-130J Weatherbird is the weather reconnaissance (“Hurricane Hunter”) version of the C-130J. It is configured with palletized weather instrumentation for penetration of tropical disturbances and storms, hurricanes and winter storms to obtain data on movement, size and intensity. There are only minor differences between the Hurricane Hunter aircraft and any other C-130J.

Operated by U. S.  Air Force Reserve Command, the WC-130J usually penetrates hurricanes at an altitude of approximately 10,000 feet to collect meteorological data in the vortex, or eye, of the storm. The data collected by the WC-130J makes the advance warning of hurricanes possible and increases the accuracy of hurricane predictions and warnings by as much as 30 percent.

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