The Indian Air Force (IAF) has proposed to procure specialised American C-130 J transport aircraft, according to sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The IAF in its recent communication to the MoD has sought technical details of the C-130 J transport aircraft from the manufacturer for rapid deployment of armed forces in counter-insurgency operations.
The C-130 J aircraft made by the American aviation giant Lockheed-Martin, are used by special forces in western countries for specialised operations like storming hostage holding centres and hijacked planes.
The aircraft, according to the manufacturers, has a capability to land even on improvised makeshift landing grounds and even without lights.
According to company sources, the IAF and Border Security Force (BSF) could be in the market to purchase 12 to 13 of such aircraft. IAF presently uses its medium lift AN-32 aircraft as a carrier for special forces. The IAF which has 100 of these transport aircraft, is at present undertaking an emergency upgrade of these aircraft as well as heavier IL-76 aircraft to extend their life by 10-20 years.
Lockheed-Martin is also offering the C-130 Hercules aircraft as a replacement for IAF’s AN-32 fleet.
The flight deck of the ‘J’ series has been completely revised to provide the three-man crews with a state of the art “glass cockpit” environment.
The incorporation of multi-function, flat screen, displays has significantly reduced the number of dials that were in the earlier variants and are complemented by head-up displays, which present a host of flight management information directly into the pilot’s field of view as he scans the skies around him.
Additionally, the newer, advanced Rolls Royce Allison T56-A-15 Turboprop engines drive six-blade, carbon composite propellers. These engines are controlled by Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) units, which improve performance without compromising the high level of fuel efficiency. The propeller blades are fully reversible, allowing the ‘J’ model to manoeuvre better on the ground, the sources said. PROFILE OF A C-130 j
Role: Primary Function Intratheater airlift
Power Plant: Four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops (4,300 HP, each)
Length: 97 ft
Height: 38 ft
Wingspan: 132 ft
Speed: 374 mph (Mach 0.57) at 20,000 ft (6,060 mts)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 69,750 kgs
Normal Passenger capacity: Up to 92 troops or 64 paratroops or 74 litter patients
Range: 2,356 miles (2,049 nautical miles) with maximum payload; 2,500 miles (2,174 nautical miles) with 11,250 kgs cargo and 5,200 miles (4,522 nautical miles) with no cargo