The latest feather in the Tata cap is that certain critical components for the C-130 are now being ‘Made in India’, that too, at a factory on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

The Hercules C-130 is truly jumbo in every sense of the term. A four-engine turprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed Martin, it is capable of taking off and landing on unprepared runways.

Armed forces

India’s claim to knowing this whopping mechanical bird till now has been using it - six of them were recently delivered for our armed forces.

The latest feather in the Tata cap is that certain critical components for the C-130 are now being ‘Made in India’, that too, at a factory on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

That is the promise held out by Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd., (TLMAL), a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems and Lockheed Martin.

The Friday gone by was a landmark day with TLMAL delivering the first C-130 Center Wing Box (CWB) to Lockheed. TLMAL’s chairman S. Ramodorai handed over the vital component to Lockheed’s vice-president George Schultz in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Truly a multi-role aircraft, it was originally designed for troop and medical and cargo transport.

However, its versatile airframe now has use in other roles - gunship (AC-130) for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, air-to-air refuelling, maritime patrol and aerial fire-fighting.

An aircraft that boasts of the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history, the C-130 is the only one to be made continuously for over 50 years with its original customer, the United States.

Has 40 models

The airborne behemoth now plays a vital role for the armed forces worldwide and its 40 models and variants are now being used by 60 countries. It is now called the updated C-130J Super Hercules.

Mr. George Schultz said that this was a sign of strengthening of Indo-US relations. Lockheed’s trust in the Tata Group was well-placed and with the delivery of CWB before schedule, the Indian partner was now a trusted, long-term supplier of specialised aerospace components.

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