Super Hercules for Northern Neighbor

Canada has signed a US $1.4 billion contract with Lockheed Martin for the purchase of 17 C-130J transport aircraft, thereby filling a dire need to replace aged C-130Es and C-130Hs used today by Canadian Forces. Delivery of the first airplane is scheduled for early 2010, the Ministry of National Defence, announced on Jan. 16. The parties expect to add a 20-year maintenance contract in 2009 that will increase the total value of the work to Lockheed. Under the terms of the Super Hercules deal, Lockheed Martin is required “to invest in the Canadian economy, dollar for dollar, what the Government of Canada spends in procuring and maintaining the aircraft over the life of the contract,” according to the announcement. Canada joins Australia, Denmark, Italy, Norway, United Kingdom, and United States as purchasers of the C-130J. The Canadian government announced its intent to purchase the C-130Js in 2006, but the decision became controversial as critics argued that rival Airbus’s A400M airlifter—which still hasn’t flown—had not been fairly considered.