November 9, 2011:
India is buying six more C-130Js. Three years ago, India ordered its first six C-130J transports from the United States, with an option to buy six more. Five C-130Js have been delivered so far. India is paying $200 million per aircraft, and this includes training, warranties and some maintenance. There is also additional equipment for the aircraft, to support commando operations. This is the first time, in several decades,that India has bought American military aircraft. Currently, the Indians use Russian military transports (An-32s and Il-76s). The C-130Js are apparently being purchased to support commando operations.
The "J" model is the latest version of the C-130, which has been in service for over half a century. The capabilities of the C-130J (which can carry about 20 tons) are superior to anything the Russians offer. India has several thousand, highly regarded, commandos, and has recently been lavishing this force with new weapons and equipment. There are still Indian opponents to the C-130J deal, but the enthusiasm for non-Russian military equipment has grown enormously with the success, over the last few years, of Israeli gear used to deal with Islamic terrorists in Kashmir.
Originally, the C-130 was designed to carry 15 tons of cargo, 92 troops, or 64 paratroopers. The latest version, the 74 ton C-130J, has a top speed of 644 kilometers, a range of over 12,000 kilometers, and can carry 20 tons of cargo. The C-130 is used by more than 50 countries and over 2,300 have been built since the 1950s.