Lockheed Martin is promoting its LM-100J multi-purpose freighter, a civil derivative of the C-130J Super Hercules airlifter, at the Avalon airshow, with the company aiming to attract orders from existing L-100 customers and new operators looking for an aircraft to support niche missions.
The LM-100J will be able to operate from short, unprepared airfields without ground support infrastructure and require only minimal cargo-handling equipment. The aircraft is set to be built on the C-130 production line, in existence for more than 60 years.
ASL Aviation Group signed a Letter of Intent with Lockheed Martin last year covering an order for up to 10 of the commercial freighters. Final assembly of the first aircraft is due to begin in 2016, with expected delivery set to occur in 2018.
LM-100J business development lead at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Jeff Armentrout explained during a briefing that potential government customers already have expressed interest in acquiring the platform: “We’ve removed most of the military equipment and there are still about a dozen items that are export controlled.”
Questioned about potential sensitivities given the military origins of the platform, he said: “There could be some restrictions. Some countries we are not able to export to but for the most part we expect to have a pretty open market commercially.”
Although potential sales to China, for example, are not possible currently, future purchases are not necessarily off the table, he added.
More than 100 units of the L-100, the commercial variant of the first-generation C-130, were produced between 1964 and 1992. Many of these aircraft are still operated around the world by a range of commercial and government customers.