a state-of-the-art military aircraft so massive and powerful it’s named the Super
Hercules after the legendary strongman
of Roman myth. It flies as effectively in
the darkest night as it does during the
day, operates in high and low altitudes,
and can navigate through treacherous
Did we mention it can drop paratroopers into combat with precision, engage in
air-to-air refueling, and track the direction
and force of hurricanes?
What sounds like the far-fetched plot
of a futuristic war movie is a reality for the
Indian Air Force (IAF).
The military branch partnered with
the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the massive global defense and aeronautics company Lockheed Martin to design and
build a fleet of six C-130J Super Hercules planes, the world’s most advanced
“India, like other countries, looked at
the C-130J not as a single aircraft to do
a single mission, but as a multirole air-
craft to do multiple missions,” says Peter
Simmons, communications manager,
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com-
pany, Marietta, Georgia, USA. “There is
no other aircraft that can do everything
the C-130J can.”
The high-stakes project is as multi-
faceted and complex as the aircraft itself.
The team not only had to deliver the ves-
sels themselves, but also support systems,
sustainment solutions—such as spare
parts, spare warehousing, test equipment
and heavy maintenance equipment—
and training as well. In addition, because
the IAF wanted to ensure ongoing support after the aircraft are delivered, Lockheed Martin will provide personnel at the
New Delhi, India base for a minimum of
“There’s even a portion to have infrastructure built at the IAF base,” says
Abhay Paranjape, director, Lockheed
Martin Aeronautics Company, Marietta,
The IAF and USAF signed an initial agreement to work together on the project.
Several months later, in March 2008, they
tasked Lockheed Martin to deliver services
and aircraft to the USAF, which in turn
would hand over deliverables to the IAF.
That meant Lockheed Martin would
constantly need to satisfy the demands
of two high-profile stakeholder groups,
says Mr. Paranjape, who serves as project
manager on the initiative.
“The U.S. Air Force approves our
designs and configurations, and accepts
aircraft delivery on behalf of the IAF,” he
says. “Lockheed Martin will be providing
the training for the IAF, but the contracting and approvals are through the U.S.
Air Force. They are like a management
agency, if you will.”
>TIPWhen working with international teams, visa approvals and
major time differences can end up being bigger headaches than anticipated, says
Abhay Paranjape, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Marietta, Georgia, USA.
Project teams must embrace flexibility.
“We’ve had to change in-person meeting dates at the last minute because we
couldn’t get the key people here on time,” he says.
Because New Delhi is 10. 5 hours ahead of Georgia, project team members on
the West Coast of the United States had to wake up at 6 a.m. for teleconferences.
“But we’ve worked with international customers over the years,” Mr. Paranjape
says. “We adjust ourselves to the customer. It’s part of our culture.”