CSAR, SOF Get New Herks

Lockheed Martin will provide the Air Force with six KC-130J aircraft modified to fit the needs of the service’s combat search and rescue and special operations forces, according to a USAF release dated July 17. The service had planned to hold a media roundtable this week to discuss the award and its efforts to recapitalize the HC-130 and MC-130 fleets, only to cancel with the early release of the Government Accountability Office tanker protest decision. The Air Force has awarded Lockheed $470 million to procure the six Hercules in Fiscal 2009 and long-lead materiel under a previous C-130J contract, according to a Pentagon contract release. The service included in its Fiscal 2008 budget request about $75 million for advance procurement and development to begin the CSAR/SOF recapitalization effort. Its Fiscal 2009 budget request included justification for KC-130Js as an “immediate requirement” to replace the few in number and heavily used HC/MC-130 aircraft. According to the July 17 release, their increased usage rate has engendered “mounting sustainment challenges.”