AAD: Lockheed Martin confident of LM 100J in African operations
Lockheed Martin is confident that its relaunched LM100J will see further sales in Africa following a successful relaunch of the civil variant of the popular Super Hercules military transporter.
Dennys Plessas, Lockheed’s vice president business development EMEA said at AAD today that the original L100s had been performing well in Africa for more than 40 years and that operators had been asked about replacement.
“They all said what they want is another L100,” Plessas said.
The LM-100J is the civil-certified version of Lockheed Martin’s proven C-130J Super Hercules and is an updated version of the L-100 (or L-382) cargo aircraft. The “J” was launched in February 2014.
South Africa’s Safair currently operates one of the world’s largest L-100 fleets. Its parent company ASL Aviation ordered 10 of the type at Farnborough Airshow in July.
“We’ve long relied on our L-100s to deliver results that no other aircraft can produce. From flying humanitarian relief supplies over rugged African terrain to transporting key cargo within Europe and around the world, no other plane can do what a Hercules can do,” said Hugh Flynn, chief executive, ASL Aviation Group. “We take pride in our legacy L-100 fleet and eagerly look forward to our future as LM-100J operators.”
Lockheed Martin is also hoping the military version will enjoy the same success.
Currently Tunisia is the only African country to feature the C130J. It will have its second aircraft delivered before the end of the year.
“We are optimistic,” Plessas said. “A number of air forces in North Africa are recaptialising. We have 120 older C130s operating in Africa and we are seeing interest from all over. There are countries that have never flown C130s and came to us. We gave demonstrated the aircraft in Angola, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Just look at the map and see who is operating C130s and you can see what is happening, Plessas said.
Plessas said that many countries in Africa are “ operating under austere defence budgets.
“We read the South Africa Defence Review,” he said, “and we believe there is a significant role for the 130J in a military role for South Africa.”