The Weekly Wire: Week of 6/19/15
Saudi Arabia joined the Paris Air Show buying frenzy on Tuesday, ordering four C295W transport aircraft from Airbus Defence and Space. The purchase was presented by Airbus with no further details surrounding pricing or delivery schedules. Saudi Arabia already boasts a robust fleet of transport aircraft, including five A330 MRTTs and four CN235s, according to Avascent data. In addition, the Saudis have nearly 30 C-130 transport aircraft, plus a dozen other variations of the C-130 in their inventory. The deal for four additional transport planes only boosts an already well-stocked sector and ensures that potential retirements of C-130 aircraft at the end of the decade will not impact Saudi transport capabilities. For Airbus, the deal cements its place in the transport aircraft market in the region, joining recent sales of C295s to Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Oman.
Lockheed Martin Corp. revealed at the Paris Air Show last week that it has been in “initial contact” with the French government regarding a possible sale of C-130J transport aircraft to the French Air Force. The French Air Force has sought new aircraft with both tactical transport and rotorcraft aerial refueling capability following the retirement of its fleet of C-160 Transall aircraft, a platform first inducted in 1967. Delays in the delivery of 48 Airbus A400M planes, compounded most recently by a crash on May 9th during a test flight in Spain, have reportedly led the French Ministry of Defense to add several hundred million euros to its latest budget for a possible C-130J purchase. It remains to be seen whether the acquisition of C-130J transport aircraft will result in a revision in the number of A400M purchases.