Lockheed Martin gets $329 million contract to maintain C-130J fleet - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Tuesday 24 August 2021

Lockheed Martin gets $329 million contract to maintain C-130J fleet

“Performance-based logistics” contract follows model of C-17, P-8I Poseidon and Rafale fighter

By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 25th Aug 21

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has awarded US aerospace giant, Lockheed Martin, a $328.8 million, five-year contract to provide comprehensive maintenance support for India’s fleet of 12 C-130J Super Hercules tactical airlifter aircraft.


Lockheed Martin manufactures the highly regarded Super Hercules transport aircraft, which is flown by 26 operators in 22 nations.


The IAF’s arrangement with Lockheed Martin, announced on Tuesday, is called a “Follow On Support – II” (FOS-II) contract. The IAF will pay the US aerospace and defence giant – the world’s biggest arms supplier – just under $5.5 million per C-130J, per year, in order to obtain a specified level of operational readiness across the fleet. 


The FOS-II contract is a five-year extension of the initial FOS-I contract. That required Lockheed Martin to managing the logistics and engineering support necessary to ensure a similar fleet availability over the preceding five years.


In addition to maintaining C-130J fleet availability levels for the next five years, the FOS-II contract also requires Lockheed Martin to provide additional services that include “supporting the C-130J airframe, contractor furnished equipment (CFE), peculiar and common spares, engines, propellers, software, publication services, ground handling equipment (GHE), ground support equipment (GSE) and test equipment,” stated a Lockheed Martin release on Tuesday.


Such “performance-based logistics” (PBL) contracts, which bind aerospace vendors to specified fleet availability levels, are becoming the norm for the IAF. This followed a number of contracts with Russian aerospace manufacturers, for aircraft such as the Sukhoi-30MKI and the MiG-29K/KUB, in which the IAF found it was obtaining fleet availability levels of just 50 per cent or less.


C-17 Globemaster III


When the IAF bought its fleet of 11 C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft, it ensured they were covered by a comprehensive PBL and training contract.


The IAF’s C-17 fleet is supported under the Globemaster Integrated Support Program that ensures high mission capability rates by providing the fleet access to an global support network for spares and repair.


“Boeing provides onsite and multi-function support, with Boeing team members working closely with Indian Air Force operators and maintainers to ensure a high level of aircraft availability while reducing cost per flight hour,” Boeing told Business Standard.


Besides access to worldwide inventories of spares and consumables, Boeing also supports the C-17 fleet with worldwide recovery support, emergency in-flight technical assistance and 24 hour/7 day a week aircraft-on-ground parts response.


In addition, Boeing has established a simulator training facility for IAF aircrews and loadmasters to practice the complete range of tactical military airlift operations and humanitarian missions and rehearse scenarios such as aerial refueling and emergency procedures.


P-8I Poseidon


Similarly, Boeing also supports the Indian Navy’s fleet of P-8I Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft by providing PBL, spares, ground support equipment, field service representatives and on-site engineering support.


Boeing’s integrated logistics support has enabled the highest state of fleet readiness at the lowest possible costs. Since induction, the Indian Navy P-8I fleet has surpassed 30,000 flight hours,” says Boeing.


Rafale fighters


Similarly, the IAF ensured that its fleet of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft was contracted with PBL provisions that require the manufacturers, Dassault and Thales, to ensure a minimum of 75 per cent fleet availability – or an average of 27 fighters available at all times from the 36-Rafale fleet.


For this logistics package, which covers the Rafale’s first five years of service, the IAF paid Euro 350 million ($410 million), or an annual average of $2.25 million per Rafale fighter.


Lockheed Martin’s obligations


To fulfil its obligations, eight employees from Lockheed Martin (aircraft manufacturer), General Electric (propeller manufacturer) and Rolls-Royce (engine manufacturer) will be present as on-site technical support for the duration of the contract.


“Additionally, through the FOS-II contract, five C-130J Hercules aircraft will undergo 12-year servicing (depot maintenance) at a Lockheed Martin-approved Heavy Maintenance Center (HMC) beginning in 2022,” stated a company release.


“It is an honor to continue to partner with the IAF to support one of the most active C-130J fleets in the world. Through an integrated team and dedicated support, Lockheed Martin ensures the IAF’s C-130J fleet is available and ready for every mission,” said Lockheed Martin’s Rod McLean.


The government of India announced its purchase of its first six C-130J Super Hercules airlifters via a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) agreement with the US Air Force in 2008. All those aircraft were delivered between 2010 and 2011. The IAF received additional C-130Js in 2017, and one in 2019 to make up for one that was lost in a crash.

1 comment:

  1. Sir,
    USA is planning to retire 45 Hercules 130 J. It's not that they are out of the service life. It's they want to trim the fleet to 255 aircraft.
    Why can't we buy a dozen or so from the US inventory and use them as awacs or tanker after refurbishing.
    Best regards


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