Two of the Air Force's newest airlifters the C-130J Hercules aircraft fly in formation during a training mission. The C-130J make formation flying easier for aircrews promoting efficiency even in adverse conditions due to the heads-up displays, which allow pilots to view essential flight information while never taking their eyes off the outside environment. Air Force Security Assistance Center officials arranged the sale of four C-130Js to the Norwegian air force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Chad Gibson)
by Daryl Mayer
Air Force Security Assistance Center Public Affairs
7/18/2007 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- A quick turnaround by Air Force Security Assistance Center officials and other Air Force Materiel Command Foreign Military Sales organizations helped strengthen the tactical airlift capability of the Norwegian air force by arranging for the sale of four C-130J Hercules aircraft.
The $516 million sale is slated to provide Norway two aircraft in 2008, one in 2009 and a fourth in 2010 as the new aircraft will replace C-130H models originally purchased in 1969.
C-130J major system improvements include advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics, color multifunctional liquid crystal displays and head-up displays. Other improvements are state-of-the-art navigation systems with dual inertial navigation system and global positioning system, fully integrated defensive systems, low-power color radar, and a digital moving map display. The most noticeable difference are new turboprop engines with six-bladed, all-composite propellers. The C-130J also includes digital auto pilot, environmental and ice-protection systems, and an enhanced cargo-handling system.
"This is important not only because of the vital tactical airlift capability it brings to a key NATO ally, but also it marks the first sale of the new J model via FMS," said Brig. Gen. Joseph M. Reheiser, the AFSAC commander and a C-130 pilot.
The need for a quick response to the Norwegian initial request was twofold, said Russ Burton, the Norway command country manager for AFSAC.
There were three proposals before the Norwegian parliament, he said. One was to purchase a different aircraft, another was to refurbish the older C-130Hs and the third was to purchase the new C-130s.
"The Norwegian ministry needed the specifics from us to properly inform their parliament," Mr. Burton said. "And that meant we had to act fast."
The Defense Department standard for processing a request of this nature, including navigating the inherent legal hurdles, arranging production schedules, set prices, etc., is 180 days. With the help and support of members of the Aeronautical System Center's 516th Aeronautical Systems Group and the staff of the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, AFSAC officials processed Norway's request in less than half that time.
The other reason prompting quick action was the need to deliver the initial aircraft as quickly as possible which required additional negotiation with Lockheed Martin to accommodate their production schedule.
The complete package, referred to as a letter of offer and acceptance, includes the four aircraft, spare parts, technical publications and training.
The aircraft will be used for intra-theater support for Norway's troops involved in worldwide operations, Mr. Burton said. Additionally, the aircraft will be used for humanitarian relief operations in various locations to include Sudan, the Middle East and Afghanistan.