Saudi Arabia in $6.5billion bid for new Hercules
Saudi Arabia is close to signing a deal worth more than $6.5 billion with Lockheed Martin as it seeks to modernise its airlift and inflight refuelling capabilities.
US Congress is to consider an export application by the American manufacturer for up to 20 C-130J -30 transproters and five KC130J tankers.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has confirmed the application has submitted to the US Government for approval. "Saudi Arabia needs these aircraft to sustain its aging fleet, which faces increasing obsolescence," the DSCA said in a notification to Congress handed over last week.
Saudi already operates the ‘H’ modelC-130s and tankers which have been with the Royal Saudi Air Force for almost 40 years.
The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the venerable Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The Hercules family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. During more than 50 years of service, the family has participated in military, civilian, and humanitarian aid operations. KC-130 is the basic designation for the extended-range tanker version of the Hercules when modified for aerial refuelling.
The C-130J is already used by Oman and Qatar, is on order as an airlifter for Iraq and as a tanker for Kuwait, and also previously selected by the UAE
Pictured: Oman’s C-130J. Now Saudi will follow with the latest variant