Saturday, February 05, 2011

C-130J reaches Hindon, induction into IAF today

A C-130J transport aircraft, India’s first acquisition from the US through the foreign military sales route in decades, arrived at its new home at Hindon airbase outside the Capital ahead of its formal induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday. However, the C-130J Super Hercules airlifter that IAF will operate for Indian armed forces’ special operations, will not be the same as the US Air Force’s (USAF) in view of India not having signed a crucial communication interoperability agreement with the US, an official of Lockheed Martin , the aircraft manufacturer, said here Friday.

The C-130J, expected to enhance Indian special forces’ reach for their specialist operations behind enemy lines, was flown by an IAF crew into India from Lockheed Martin’s manufacturing facility at Marietta in Georgia, US.

India had signed a $950 million contract for six C-130Js in 2008. The other five aircraft in this current order are scheduled for delivery to the IAF one after the other by the end of this year. “The first C-130J for the IAF has arrived at its home base last (Thursday) evening after flying through Canada, Europe and West Asia,” Lockheed Martin’s vice president (business development) Orville Prins said here. “It was very clear that Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) not being signed will affect certain things,” Prins said.

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