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IAF inducts Lockheed Martin C 130J aircraft in transport fleet


  Published: Feburary 2011

New Delhi. The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first of the six Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules aircraft Jan 5 into its transportation fleet that is expected to give a major boost to the armed forces' reach in their specialist operations behind enemy lines.


The induction ceremony was held at Hindon airbase near the capital, witnessed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, IAF head Air Chief Marshal P V Naik and US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer.

The aircraft, India's first such acquisition from the US through the foreign military sales route in decades, arrived at its new home at Hindon airbase Jan 3. It was flown by an IAF crew to India from Lockheed Martin's manufacturing facility at Marietta in Georgia, US.

India had signed a $950 million contract for six C-130Js in 2008. The other five aircraft are scheduled for delivery one after the other by the end of this year.

The IAF has raised a new squadron called 77 Squadron to fly the aircraft. The squadron will be nicknamed as Veiled Vipers with a motto "strike to kill".

The induction of the C-130J is expected to make Indian defence stronger in terms of its reaching capabilities. The aircraft can bring to troops what they need wherever they are located.

The four-engine turboprop plane can be used for troop deployment, special operations, air-to-air refuelling, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid operations.

Its technology and configuration enables the aircraft to perform precision low-level flying, airdrops, and landing in blackout conditions.

The aircraft -- used in peacekeeping missions in Africa and for tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia -- has a maximum cruise speed of 355 knots or 660 kmph. The maximum takeoff weight is 75,390 kg and it can carry a maximum payload of 21,770 kg.

Antony said the induction of the transport aircraft would take the joint warfare capability of the India armed forces to "greater heights".

"The C130J will add more muscle to the IAF to perform its mandate… In view of the security situation in the neighbourhood, India needs a credible and strong armed forces to meet the requirements of peace and stability."

He said the induction of the C-130J is an example of the government's commitment to "provide best possible equipment to armed forces and maintain qualitative edge at all times".

Air force chief Naik termed the C130-J induction as "a milestone in the modernization and transformation process of the IAF to enhance its capability to meet future challenges".

Ambassador Roemer after the induction said the sale of the C-130J to the IAF "on-time and on-budget is exactly the type of win-win situation President (Barack) Obama talked about during his visit to India last November".

"A strong defence relationship is a key component of the US-India strategic partnership. The sale of the aircraft strengthens our bilateral military relationship and enhances joint regional security efforts between our two democracies."


Pics: Dipak Das (DPR)

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