Six months ago, I reported on the controversy brewing in India about plans by that nation's military to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase six new C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT). Last week, the Pentagon moved the ball forward, announcing a Lockheed contract for six of the craft.
The most recent iteration of the best-selling non-combat military aircraft in the world, Lockheed's C-130 line, C-130Js are operated by the air forces of 16 countries around the globe. During the course of the plane's production, Lockheed has produced -- or is in contract to produce -- more than 300 C-130Js -- and more than 2,400 C-130s of all configurations.
Nevertheless, with $4 billion in high-priority defense acquisitions projects in the pipeline -- plans to buy everything from naval patrol aircraft to attack helicopters to howitzers -- Indian pundits wondered whether new transports should be at the top of the acquisition list so soon after India just bought several (in 2007). But that's what it's doing.
Six months after the controversy broke out in India, back here in Washington, D.C., the Pentagon last week announced that it has awarded Lockheed Martin a foreign military sales defense contract worth up to $564.7 million to supply India's military with six of its C-130J-30s.
Included in the contract is funding for Lockheed field service representatives to work in India for three years, providing post-delivery support following the first aircraft delivery. In total, the Pentagon says that this contract will be worth nearly $2.1 billion to Lockheed, and will be completed by April 30, 2020.