US goes ahead with $6.35 Billion Aircraft Sale to Australia

Ian Creek, GFDL , via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The United States Department of Defence has announced that the approval for a potential defense deal worth US$6.35 billion for the sale of 24 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 transport aircraft along with other theatre equipment with Australia has been moved forward.

Adding to this announcement, Pentagon released a press statement that said, “The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing the Royal Australian Air Force with replacements for its aging cargo fleet, guaranteeing a reliable airlift capability.”  

The Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 has achieved phenomenal success over its lifecycle of more than 26 years, with its first variant released in 1996.

A true engineering marvel harnessing cargo capacity of substantial tonnage was the game-changer in military aviation. The C-130 program has come a long way from its initial design and is widely accoladed as “Lockheed C-130 Hercules”.  

With the prime user being the United States Air Force, Lockheed Martin has expanded its customer base to US Marine Corps, Royal Air Force, and Italian Air Force, along with international customers like Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Norwegian Air Force, Canadian Forces, Indian Air Force, Iraqi Air Force, Qatari Emiri Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force, Israeli Air Force to name few.

Australia has a security treaty ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United State) which is a 1951 non-binding collective security agreement between Australia and New Zealand, and the United States to cooperate on the military in the Pacific Ocean region.

The treaty with Australia concerning defense trade cooperation has been established by the Bush administration in September 2007.

The treaty document asserts the purpose as to provide a comprehensive framework for the Exports and Transfer of Defense Articles without written authorization to extent that such exports and transfers support certain types of activities.

The articles also stand for the proposition that it is in the mutual security and defense interests of the United States and Australia to improve the interoperability of their armed forces by facilitating the movement of defense articles in support of certain mutually agreed activities while maintaining and ensuring a proper safeguard against the unauthorized release of the defense technology involved.

With remarkable specifications on its build, the aircraft has a max take-off weight of 155,000lb based on 4 Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines. The wing area of this airframe counts to 1,745 sq. ft. with a wingspan of 132ft and 7 inches.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of 362kn (670 km/h) with a cruise speed of 348 kn and a service ceiling of 28,000 ft. The C-130J-30 has a remarkable range of 11,800 nmi (3,300 km) with an absolute ceiling of 40,386 ft.

Speaking on this deal approval, the US Depart of Defence said that “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific.”

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