Monday, June 20, 2011

Two more Super Hercules planes on way to India

Donning Indian Air Force colours, the third and fourth of six C-130J Super Hercules planes acquired by India in a $950 million deal have left for their new home, Air Force Station Hindon, outside New Delhi.

The remaining two C-130Js on order will be delivered later this summer, the plane's manufacturers Lockheed Martin said announcing the departure of the aircraft from its facility in Marietta, Georgia, Wednesday.

Equipped with an Infrared Detection Set, the aircraft can perform precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions, Lockheed said.

Self-protection systems and other features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environments. The aircraft also is equipped with air-to-air receiver refuelling capability for extended range operations, it said.

India's first acquisition from the US through the foreign military sales route in decades, the C-130J is expected to enhance Indian special forces' reach for their specialist operations behind enemy lines.

The four-engine aircraft, powered by the Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop, 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.

The aircraft is required by the Indian armed forces to airlift about 92 paratroopers for special operations, though the platform has a multi-mission capability, including cargo lifting and medical evacuation.

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