India joint venture of Tata-Lockheed delivers 150 C-130J aircraft empennages

File Photo: Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

New Delhi: The Indo-American joint venture, Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL), has recently delivered the 150th C-130J Super Hercules empennage from its manufacturing facility located at Adibatla in Hyderabad, marking a key milestone in the partnership that has contributed significantly to the Indian aerospace industry.

The delivery milestone highlights the ongoing success of American defence major Lockheed Martin‘s hallmark ‘Make in India’ partnership with Indian company Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), established more than a decade ago, a statement from TLMAL said on Sep. 15.

TLMAL, a joint venture between TASL and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, was established in 2010 in alignment with the Indian Air Force‘s acquisition of its first six C-130J Super Hercules airlifters.

TLMAL exemplifies the ‘Make in India‘ goals and has the distinction of being the single global source of C-130J empennage assemblies that are installed on all new Super Hercules aircraft produced at Marietta in Georgia, United States.

Empennage assemblies produced by TLMAL include the aircraft’s horizontal and vertical stabilisers along with leading edges and tip assemblies. The TLMAL team also previously manufactured sets of C-130J centre wing box components and introduced a cutting-edge 4,700 square-meter metal-to-metal bonding facility in May 2018. TLMAL currently employs close to 700 people.

In April 2018, TLMAL increased the indigenisation of C-130 manufacturing by transitioning the production of approximately 2,200 (of 2,500+) previously imported empennage components to Tata Sikorsky Aerospace Limited (TSAL), Lockheed Martin’s second joint venture with TASL.

These components were previously manufactured by suppliers located outside of India. Currently, every empennage that is delivered around the world is built in Hyderabad and its components will be further indigenised from 85 percent to up to more than 95 percent by the first quarter of financial year 2022.

“The TASL-Lockheed Martin partnership is a true demonstration of collaborated workmanship in aerospace and defence manufacturing in India. The manufacturing and operational excellence achieved by the team through this decade-long partnership, has led India to become the only supplier of C-130J Super Hercules empennage, globally. I congratulate the team for this achievement and enriching partnership” TASL managing director and chief executive officer Sukaran Singh said.

TLMAL empennages are included in C-130Js that support critical worldwide search and rescue, peacekeeping, combat delivery, maritime patrol, special operations, aerial refueling, medical evacuation and humanitarian response missions. TLMAL empennages are also included in the LM-100J, the commercial variant of the Super Hercules.

“Many people, thousands of hours and massive amounts of commitment helped the TLMAL team reach this milestone,” TLMAL chief operating officer Kiran Dambala said.

“Fueled by a strong partnership between Tata and Lockheed Martin, the TLMAL team puts its pride and energy into meeting and exceeding customer expectations with each and every C-130J empennage delivered. While C-130Js are flown by a multitude of operators around the world, each empennage is a product of India and reflects the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Our team has accomplished so much with these first 150 empennages and is ready to achieve even more with the next 150 empennages.”

The C-130J Super Hercules is the airlifter of choice for 26 operators in 22 nations. The Indian Air Force operates a fleet of 12 C-130J-30s, exemplifying the airlifter’s versatility by landing it on the highest landing strip in the world — the Daulat Beg Oldi in northern India — to relying on the C-130 for regional military, peacekeeping, medevac, humanitarian relief and natural disaster support missions.

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