September 5, 2012 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Sultanate of Oman recently took delivery of its first C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft in a ceremony held at Lockheed Martin's Marietta facility. The aircraft is the first of three to be delivered this year, after the contract was first signed by the two parties in 2009.
A new C-130J Super Hercules (#5698) for the Sultanate of Oman conducts a test flight at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Ga., on Aug. 8, 2012. [Lockheed Martin photo]
"The new C-130J will be used to support internal country operations where its ability to operate out of remote, austere airstrips will be invaluable," Lockheed Martin said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Lockheed Martin had earlier said that production of the planes was on schedule, with the final delivery expected in February 2014.
"Many countries including Oman and Qatar have selected the longer version of the C-130J to be part of an airlift fleet.
Although there are some unique country-specific items, most operators will receive aircraft that are very close to the common production baseline," said the spokesperson.
Oman currently operates a fleet of older H model C-130s. The Hercules aircraft is renowned for its ability to operate in rough terrain and fly to small and rudimentary airstrips. The newer J version promises an improved performance over its E/H counterparts such as greater range, speed and a shorter take-off distance.
Officials from Oman and the US Air Force attended the handing-over ceremony.