The first civil version of the latest Lockheed Hercules transport, the LM-100J, closely modeled on the military C-130J, rolled off the assembly line in Marietta, Georgia Thursday morning. Lockheed Martin told reporters they expect customers will use aircraft for oversized cargo transport, aerial spraying and firefighting, austere field operations, and search and rescue applications.
Although demilitarized, Lockheed Martin says the LM-100J will retain much of the specialized equipment installed on its combat-oriented cousin for military applications including the heads-up displays, computer-aided release point software for precision airdrops, and ground-mapping radar. The key visual difference between the aircraft is the removal of the C-130J’s lower cockpit windows. Air crews will be pleased to know that the LM-100J comes with a microwave oven, but the C-130J’s flush toilet has been removed, and the coffee maker is now a customer option, according to Lockheed Martin’s internal magazine, Code One.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Stinn told Avweb that Lockheed Martin has 25 orders for the aircraft, among them 10 from ASL Aviation Group, who announced their intent to purchase the aircraft at the Farnborough Air Show in 2014 to replace their aging L-100 fleet. (Starting in 1964, Lockheed manufactured and sold 115 copies of the L-100, a civilian adaptation of the then-current C-130E, of which Lockheed Martin says 55 are still in service. The LM-100J is Lockheed’s first civilian, fixed-wing product since production ceased on the L-100 in 1992.) Hugh Flynn, CEO of ASL Aviation, announced at the time of the deal that “the LM-100J will be deployed in the most difficult and distressing circumstances, bringing humanitarian aid and relief to those suffering most around the world.” In a press release, Lockheed Martin said the aircraft completed Thursday would begin flight testing in spring 2017 to support Lockheed’s application for a type design update, permitting operation by non-military users. Courtesy of AVweb.