January 20, 2014 David Pugliese Defence Watch
U.S. Special Operations Command nearly tripled its investment in the C-130J aircraft fleet over the last two years, according to National Defense magazine.
More from the article:
Special-mission C-130s — including MC-130 customized cargo planes and AC-130 gunships — are among SOCOM’s largest procurement programs. Spending on new aircraft and add-on equipment will increase substantially, from $89 million in 2012 to $232 million in 2014, according to new estimates by Frost & Sullivan, a market intelligence firm.
About $124 million will be spent in 2014 on new aircraft, and $108 million on a “precision strike package” for the AC-130 gunship that includes sensors, a 30 mm gun, standoff precision-guided munitions, a mission operator console, a communications suite and flight deck hardware.
SOCOM purchases of C-130J aircraft and high-tech add-ons are expected to continue in the coming years, said Brad Curran, senior analyst at Frost & Sullivan aerospace and defense practice. C-130J manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. is currently SOCOM’s largest contractor, capturing 18 percent of the command’s $2.6 billion modernization budget in 2013.
The command intends to buy 94 MC-130Js of which 37 will be converted to AC-130J gunships. So far, 27 MC-130Js are on contract, and an additional 17 have “advanced procurement funding against them,” an Air Force spokesman told National Defense.
Full article here