The U.K. Ministry of Defence issued an estimated $547-million (£369 million) contract to a consortium of Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce Plc, and Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group to maintain and support the Royal Air Force’s fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. The contract assignment will extend for six years, through 2022, and is described as securing 1,100 jobs at the Marshall Aerospace base at the Cambridge Airport in England.
The three companies have been cooperating on the Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS) program since 2006. Marshall Aerospace specializes in the conversion, modification, maintenance and support of military, commercial, and private aircraft.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built by Lockheed Martin. Originally designed as a troop, medivac, and cargo transport aircraft, it also been adapted for use as a gunship, for airborne assault missions, search and rescue missions, reconnaissance, aerial refueling, and various other roles.
Lockheed, which manages the HIOS program for RAF’s C-130J fleet at Havant, in Hampshire, England, will continue providing subcontract support for supply, IT, and field technical support services.
The C-130 is powered by Rolls-Royce AE 2100 turboprop engines, and Rolls will support the RAF’s fleet from its operation in Bristol and Brize Norton, England, and at Indianapolis, Ind.
In its announcement of the new contract, the Ministry said its cooperation with the RAF and the industrial partners has increased the availability of the C-130 for troops, supplies, and equipment transport around the world by 33%, and reduced program cost savings of around 20%. “This means the RAF now has more aircraft to support humanitarian operations,” according to the Ministry of Defence.
Recently, the U.K. announced that its C-130 aircraft fleet would be upgraded and extended in service through 2030.
Stephen Ball, CEO of Lockheed Martin U.K. said: “Over the last 60 years, Lockheed Martin has delivered 2,500 C-130 Hercules, capable of supporting 100 different mission requirements. This contract will ensure we are able to continue the good work … and make RAF C-130s available to support a variety of missions in defense of the U.K.’s security.”