India and US inked contract for six additional C-130J super Hercules aircraft, worth of 1.01 billion dollars on 27 December 2013.
Defence Ministry announced that the six C-130J will be delivered within 3 years as it was signed under the US government’s foreign military sales (FMS) programme. The rugged C-130, as the bigger C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft acquired from the US, these can land at a small forward airbase on a semi-prepared runway. Already Indian Air Force (IAF) landed a C-130J on the Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip in eastern Ladakh, at an altitude of 16614 feet, just seven kilometer from LAC in August 2013. C-130j ordered for 962 million dollar in 2007. It is crucial to counter China’s massive build-up of border infrastructure. The six new C-130Js is configured for special operations and will be based at Panagarh in West Bengal.
The US already had deals, worth of 10 billion dollar over the last decade in the Indian defence market. The other deals are the ones for 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers, 22 Apache attack helicopters, four P-81 maritime patrol aircraft and 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers together worth of 4 billion dollar.
The contract negotiation committee (CNC) for the Chinooks has completed its work and one for the Apaches is on the verge of finalization informed by the Ministry of Defence. The C-130J Super Hercules is an update version of Lockheed C-130 Hercules, which is capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings.