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Airbus Australia Pacific has been awarded a two-year contract extension for sustainment services for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) 12-strong C-130J HERCULES fleet.

Services to be provided include engineering, maintenance and supply support and the contract – the two-year extension until 2024 is valued at approximately A$175 million – will secure some 220 jobs at RAAF Base Richmond, according to the Department of Defence.

Airbus has provided these services to the Australian HERCULES fleet since March 2009 and, according to Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, “Airbus reduced sustainment costs by $10 million over the 2019-2024 period.”

Australian content is valued at approximately $110 million for the two-year extension and comprises about 62% of the contract,” added Minister for Defence Industry, Steven Ciobo.

Demonstrating some of the highest operational tempo of any Australian military aircraft, the HERCULES fleet has been the subject of additional attention and initiatives from the RAAF> Most obvious of these was the installation earlier this year of a C-130J Fuselage Trainer at Richmond, created by cannibalising two C-130H airframes and supported with spares and consulting services by Lockheed Martin. The trainer will enable the service to significantly enhance operational availability and readiness rates and provides a much-needed training facility for loadmasters and rear crew.

RAAF C-130J HERCULES aircraft are among the most frequently demanded of the service’s assets. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

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