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US proposes USD6 billion Hercules sale to Australia

Australia's existing C-130J fleet is ageing. The Australian DoD said in February 2022 that the fleet had surpassed more than 850,000 flying hours. The first aircraft were inducted in 1999. (CPL Veronica McKenna/Commonwealth of Australia)

The US Department of State has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 aircraft to Australia.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on 2 November that the Australian Government had “requested to buy twenty four C-130J-30 aircraft with four each Rolls-Royce AE-2100D turboprop engines installed”. The DSCA added that the value of the potential deal is USD6.35 billion.

The state department announcement was made a day after the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 1 November that it is preparing to replace and expand “its current medium air mobility fleet of 12 C-130J Hercules aircraft”. The acquisition will be under Australia's Project AIR 7404 Phase 1.

The state department has also approved the sale of the 24 Rolls Royce AE-2100D turboprop engines with Quick Engine Change Assembly (QECA) and propellers installed (spares).

Other systems within the potential sale include 60 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) (EGI) security devices. Out of these, 48 are to be installed on the aircraft. Twelve will be retained as spares. In addition, 32 AN/ALQ-251 Radio Frequency Countermeasure (RFCM) systems and 27 Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies (GLTAs) for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems are included.

Of the GTLA, 24 will be installed in the aircraft, and three will be retained as spares, according to the DSCA.

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