U.S. signs off on $6B+ sale of Lockheed C-130s to Australia

Nov. 4—The U.S. State Department this week approved a potential $6.35 billion sale of 24 C-130J-30 aircraft to the Australian government.

If finalized, the deal would be a boon for Lockheed Martin's Marietta plant where the planes are built. A Lockheed spokesman confirmed to the MDJ the planes would be new orders from the plant, rather than existing stock.

The Royal Australian Air Force currently has a dozen C-130s in use, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports, doubling the size of its fleet with the purchase. Australia has used the planes since 1958.

"Defence seeks a low risk, certified in all roles, proven, mature and affordable replacement aircraft that meets Australia's air mobility needs," the Australian Department of Defence said. "...Defence has identified that the new C-130J aircraft represents the only option that meets all of Australia's capability requirements and assures Defence's medium air mobility capability without introducing substantial cost, schedule and capability risk."

The final price tag would include the planes themselves along with support services, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States. Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific," the DSCA said.

The deal remains subject to approval by the Australian government, according to media outlet Breaking Defense.