Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US$15 billion indefinite-quantity contract for development, integration, retrofit and production activities across all C-130J variants.
The news was announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 17 July, though the agency has been taciturn about several aspects of the project.
Speaking in broad terms, the DoD said that the award would fund “development, integration, retrofit and production activities for all C-130J variants”.
“This contract provides flexibility to accommodate the broad enterprise of activities associated with the C-130J program,” the agency added.
The DoD further stated that the contract “involves Foreign Military Sales and is the result of a sole-source acquisition”, though it did not specify which countries were involved.
The DoD added that fiscal year 2018 and 2019 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of US$3.3 million were being obligated at the time of award.
The move comes roughly four years after a similar IDIQ agreement for US$10 billion was signed with Lockheed Martin. At that time, the DoD said the contract covered the production of an estimated 100 C-130Js for the United States and FMS customers.
It also comes roughly one month after the New Zealand government confirmed its purchase of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules for more than NZ$1 billion, though no reference was made to whether those aircraft would be serviced.
Cirium fleets data indicates that there are 441 C-130J family aircraft in service globally, with 37 on order and nine in storage.
The US Air Force is the largest operator with 250 in its fleet, followed by the USMC with 61. Major international customers include Italy, Canada, UK, Australia and India.