“This is good news for the C-130 program here in Marietta and Marietta overall,” said Lockheed spokesman Johnny Whitaker. “C-130 is the biggest program here, and it’s the second largest program in the company behind F-35s, so this is good news.”
Whitaker said while the funds are part of the Department of Defense’s budget for the C-130s for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, he couldn’t provide a dollar amount on the cost of the 16 airplanes.
The cost of the aircraft depends on how they are outfitted, he said.
The airplane listing site Aircraftcompare.com puts the cost of one C-130J at $51 million. In its fiscal 2013 budget request, the Department of Defense listed the cost of the C-130J as $68 million. Whitaker said when the Defense Department went forward with its proposal for fiscal 2013, there were seven C-130Js included in the budget, which was never passed.
“We went into a continuing resolution, which is not unusual,” he said. “Coming out of that continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, a.k.a., the stop-gap that (Obama) just signed, there were nine additional (C-130Js), so a total for fiscal year 2013 of 16 airplanes, which we welcome. That is great for us, that is great for Marietta, for the C-130 program.”
Included in the stop-gap measure was advance procurement funding for 20 additional C-130Js, he said.
“That’s to buy the long lead time items, the things that you have to order way in advance, parts or systems or engines. It could be a variety of things, but this is the advanced procurement, which signals to us and that’s about $200 million worth, an additional 20 airplanes,” he said. “These are not actual airplanes. This is just advanced procurement for 20 airplanes.”
County Chairman Tim Lee welcomed the news.
“That is extraordinary good news for Cobb County and for Lockheed specifically,” Lee said. “They are a vital economic engine and job creator in this whole market, so their success is Cobb’s success.”