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$547M C-130J support contract secures 1,200 U.K. jobs
by Ryan Maass
Washington (UPI) Dec 30, 2015

The U.K. Ministry of Defense has inked a $547 million deal to continue supporting the Royal Air Force's fleet of C-130J Hercules aircraft until 2022.

The deal to support the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft secures around 1,200 jobs in the country, according to U.K. defense officials. The six-year support contract will include maintenance operations to ensure the aircraft's operational readiness, in line with the U.K.'s recent Strategic Defence and Security Review mandate to extend the aircraft's service life until 2030.

"This contract is further evidence of what the growing Defence budget with ĀPounds 178 billion [$264 billion] investment in equipment [over the next decade] means for the U.K.," U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said in a statement. "It will secure around 1,200 skilled jobs and ensure our essential RAF transport aircraft are prepared for operations for years to come."

The Hercules aircraft is designed to carry and transport large payloads, which can include troops, supplies, and supporting equipment. In addition to the plane's use on the battlefield, the Hercules can also be used for humanitarian missions and disaster relief operations. Recent operations include humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq, Nepal, and South Sudan.

Work on the sustainment contract will be performed by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, along with Lockheed Martin and its sub-contractors in the U.K. Engine maker Rolls Royce will also perform work under the contract.

"This new deal for UK C130J Hercules support builds upon improved performance at a lower cost that will deliver strategic and tactical air transport capability and excellent value for UK Defence," Defense Ministry procurement head Adrian Baguley said.

The Hercules Integrated Operational Support contract has supported the RAF Hercules fleet since 2006. Since then, the government has spent over $1.48 billion maintaining the fleet.

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