First Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Delivered To Royal Danish Air Force; New Base Established
Aalborg AB, Denmark, 08-MAR-04 -- The first of three new Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] C-130J transports for the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) was delivered to its new home base in northern Jutland on March 1. Denmark is the first Scandinavian country to bring the Super Hercules into service.
Teams from the Royal Danish Air Force and Lockheed Martin worked very hard over the past three years to reach this point, said Ross Reynolds, Lockheed Martin C-130J Program vice president. It is a mark of that teamwork that the first aircraft was delivered on time and the other two aircraft will be delivered to schedule in the next six weeks.
The arrival of the C-130J was the highlight of the ceremony, which also marked the moving of 721 Squadron's aircraft from Vǽrlǿse AB, near Copenhagen, to this base near the North Sea. The move is being done as a force consolidation measure and 721 Squadron will officially begin operations out of Aalborg AB on April 1. Construction of the base's new C-130J hangar began last year and was recently completed.
721 Squadron operates four different aircraft, and after a flyby of two Challenger 601 executive transports, three T-17 trainers, and two C-130Hs, the C-130J arrived, escorted by a pilot flying a Lockheed Martin F-16A from the RDAF's 726 squadron, also based at Aalborg AB. The military shares a runway with Aalborg's commercial airfield and has been the home of one of the RDAF's three F-16 squadrons for more than two decades.
The RDAF crew ferried the aircraft from Lockheed Martin's Marietta, Ga., facility. Ida Ferlov, the civil servant who served as the service's C-130J program manager, was also aboard the flight. Gen. K.L. Axelsen, the head of the RDAF's Materiel Command, was among the crowd of approximately 300 people at the arrival ceremony.
Four other Danish aircrews and a cadre of maintenance personnel are currently in training in Marietta. Additional crews and maintainers will also be trained in the near term by Lockheed Martin, which is also providing initial spares support to the RDAF.
The Danish aircraft, which are the long-fuselage version of the C-130J, feature a strengthened cargo ramp and improved airdrop system, which allow crews to make airdrops at 250 knots, helping them avoid antiaircraft fire in hostile areas; the Enhanced Cargo Handling System, which allows for rapidly converting the aircraft from hauling rolling stock to palletized cargo; as well as RDAF-specific items, including a tailored electronic warfare suite. Denmark, which is replacing its fleet of 1973-vintage C-130H aircraft, also holds an option for a fourth C-130J.
By contract, Lockheed Martin is obligated to provide 100 percent offset to Denmark, and to date, the company is well ahead of the eight-year plan. Approximately 50 percent of the industrial cooperation commitment has already been satisfied.
One of the missions of the RDAF is to conduct air transport operations for the Danish Defense Forces and other international operations. A number of RDAF units have been designated for service with NATO's reaction forces in connection with international military operations. This commitment includes a dozen F-16s and one of the C-130s, which will soon be one of the C-130Js.
This year marks both the fiftieth anniversary of both the Royal Danish Air Force and the C-130. More than 2,260 Hercules aircraft of all types in more than 70 different variants have been delivered to 60 countries since the program began. Today, 67 countries, counting those that bought used aircraft, fly the Hercules. The C-130J is the latest version to come off the longest, continuous, active military aircraft production line in history.
A total of 179 C-130Js are on order, and 108 have been delivered to date. In the United States, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard units fly C-130Js. The Marine Corps operates KC-130J tankers and the Coast Guard is now introducing the HC-130J into service. International C-130J operators include the Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Italian Air Force, and now the Royal Danish Air Force. The capabilities and performance of the C-130J in supporting light, fast and lethal combat operations make it a true transformational asset.