A belated posting of a Paris Air Show video on the C-17 and the C-130J.
In June, U.S. lawmakers moved to include $2.2 billion for eight more Boeing C-17 Globemasters, which will extend production of the program into 2011, if Congress approves the bill. Boeing said here yesterday it would also continue lobbying Congress for 15 additional planes to be added in fiscal 2010.
Early estimates pegged the cost of closing the C-17 line at about $1 billion over three years. That was when the plan was not to buy any more aircraft. But shutdown charges will now be deferred for months, with Boeing pushing for more international orders.
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said recently that early indications from the latest Mobility Capability Requirements Study underway at the Pentagon point to no need for additional C-17 airlifters. But with Boeing’s latest order and more orders being generated by NATO countries, this enormous airlifter isn’t likely to disappear from the landscape any time soon.
The French announced they will consider leasing or buying Lockheed Martin C-130J air transports as part of a plan to meet urgent requirements in case its EADS A400M aircraft are further delayed or the program is terminated.
France would become the fifth European nation, after the U.K., Italy, Norway and Denmark, to operate the C-130J. Britain is also considering an additional C-130J buy.
The new C-130J flies farther and faster, with more payload and reliability than older models, and requires only three crew members for most missions, versus five in the older aircraft. The C-130J is currently deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and the worldwide fleet has exceeded 350,000 flight hours.
Lockheed Martin delivered its 150th C-130J Super Hercules to the California Air National Guard unit at Channel Islands Air National Guard Base in May. The 146th Airlift Wing recently returned from a 20-month deployment to Iraq, where the aircraft was used as part of a C-130J joint force deployment for high-tempo intra-theater operations.