WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has received a contract worth up to $5.3 billion to deliver C-130J Super Hercules airlifters to the U.S. Armed Forces.
The multiyear contract funds the delivery of up to 78 Super Hercules aircraft to the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marine Corps, and potentially the U.S. Coast Guard if all options are exercised. The Department of Defense awarded an initial $1 billion contract for the first 32 aircraft.
"We are proud to partner with the U.S. government to continue to deliver to the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard the world's most proven, versatile and advanced airlifter," Lockheed Martin Air Mobility & Maritime Missions vice president George Shultz said in a statement.
Under the contract, the Air Force will receive most of the airlifters, including 30 MC-130Js, 13 HC-130Js, and 29 C-130J-30s. The Marines will receive six KC-130s, and the U.S. Coast Guard will have the option to receive five HC-130Js. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2016, and complete by 2020.
"This multiyear contract provides true value to our U.S. operators as they recapitalize and expand their much-relied-upon Hercules aircraft, which has the distinction of being the world's largest and most tasked C-130 fleet," Shultz added.
Super Hercules aircraft are used for the mass transit of troops, supplies, or additional equipment. They are fit for use on the battlefield as well as disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions.