NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force has awarded US aerospace company Lockheed Martin a $328.8 million, five-year contract to provide “dedicated and comprehensive support” for the IAF’s fleet of 12 C-130J-30 Super Hercules Aircraft, a company statement said Tuesday.

Lockheed Martin is the original equipment manufacturer for the C-130Js, which is the tactical airlift employed by 26 operators in 22 nations, it said.

“Through this Follow On Support II (FOS) contract, Lockheed Martin teams manage the program, logistics and engineering support elements necessary to sustain the IAF’s C-130J fleet. The contract spans a five-year-period, is a Direct Commercial Sale, and is a continuation of a prior five-year FOS I contract where Lockheed Martin provided similar support for the IAF’s C-130J fleet,” the statement said.

The Indian government had announced its purchase of six C-130J Super Hercules airlifter via a foreign military sale with the US Air Force in 2008. All aircraft were delivered between 2010 and 2011. India received six additional C-130Js in 2017 and in 2019.

“Through an integrated team and dedicated support, Lockheed Martin ensures the IAF’s C-130J fleet is available and ready for every mission,” Rod McLean, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility and Maritime Missions, Lockheed Martin was quoted as saying.

The FOS II contract includes Lockheed Martin’s support for the IAF’s entire Super Hercules fleet, as well as extended options including Lockheed Martin support for the C-130J airframe, Contractor Furnished Equipment (CFE), peculiar and common spareable items, engines, propellers, software, publication services, ground handling equipment (GHE), ground support equipment (GSE) and test equipment.

A total of eight employees representing Lockheed Martin, GE (propeller manufacturer) and Rolls-Royce (engine manufacturer) will serve 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, the statement added.

Lockheed is also one of the contenders to bag the deal for 114 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for Indian Air Force. Lockheed is competing with Boeing’s F-18, Swedish SAAB’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon, and MiG-35 of Russia’s United Aircraft Corp.