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C-130J Production Continues

Even though as part of the FY13 budget the Defense Department is proposing to restructure the existing C-130 fleet and cancelling the Aviation Modernization Program (AMP) production of the C-130J continues. With this the Air Force place a contract with Lockheed Martin (LMT) for 7 more of the capable transport for use by itself and the Marine Corps.

The $70 million option will procure 4 MC-130J tankers, 2 AC-130J gunships and a HC-130J for the Coast Guard. This is under the current production contract.

The next five year budget, though, due to the desire to cut several hundred billion in spending over the next five years is not so kind to the program. It sees a forty-one percent cut to the planned spending for production while also ending the AMP.

The AMP had been developed by Boeing (BA) but the plan was to have another contest to award the production and retrofit contract. Boeing under the development contract would have done some of the upgrades but the bulk would have been done by the winner of the new effort.

The budget also ends the C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program which was buying twin engined transports from L-3 Communications (LLL) for use by the USAF Guard. This capability will be replaced by C-130 performing that mission. With the ending of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan the planned use of the C-27J would have been much less then intended.

There is no guarantee that any of these budget proposals are final until Congress votes on the 2013 defense budget this year. They are the final say on what is cut and what is kept but generally they follow the Pentagon’s proposals.

Photo from kingair42’s flickr photostream.

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