Enter the Frugal Herk

Lockheed Martin announced that it will begin offering a low-cost variant of the C-130J early next year that is specifically designed for international customers with lower budgets and less intensive mission needs. With a “significantly lower price,” the new C-130XJ “will have growth capability, post delivery,” Lockheed spokesman Peter Simmons told the Daily Report. Optimized for “low-threat” movement of personnel and supplies, or missions utilizing modular kits for activities like firefighting or search and rescue, the XJ model “retains all the provisions necessary to fully configure the aircraft for combat operations should the need arise,” noted Simmons. Since the C-130XJ uses the same power plant and avionics as the C-130J, Lockheed said it could offer a similar package based on the stretched C-130J-30, if requested. The Enhanced Cargo Handling System is the only feature that could not be retrofitted on the XJ, said Simmons. Lockheed also is developing a “next-generation” Hercules, dubbed C-130NG, that would be available around 2030 and offer “increased fuel efficiency and reduced overall operating costs,” he said.