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IAF's C-130J aircraft trials to begin soon

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Lockheed Martin's C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Photo: Lockheed Martin

NEW DELHI (BNS): Lockheed Martin will begin flight trials of first of the six C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in a few weeks, a media report said.

“The first aircraft is expected to be ready for its maiden test flight by mid-summer. All six aircraft would be fully assembled by spring 2011, with the first aircraft scheduled to be delivered to the IAF in December this year,” The Tribune newspaper quoted a spokesperson of Lockheed Martin as saying.

C-130J Super Hercules would further undergo a flight test in the Indian environment, before being formally commissioned into the IAF early next year.

In 2008, IAF had ordered six C-130Js for Special Forces, with an option for six more as a follow on order.

Currently, there are no US military aircraft in operation with the IAF. C-130J Super Hercules will be the first one after US B-24 bombers, Dakota and Packet transport aircraft, which were used by the IAF after independence.

The C-130J is a stretched version of the basic aircraft C-130 of US Air Force.

According to the report, the C-130J Hercules which will be delivered to India in the first quarter of next year can carry a maximum payload of around 20 tonne. It has been equipped with an infra-red detection set that would enable precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions.

The C-130s would primarily support airlift and para-drop of the Army’s special forces.

Lockheed Martin will train the IAF aircrew and ground technicians which is expected to be based at the Hindon Air Force Station.

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