Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures delivers 150th empennage for Super Hercules aircraft

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on September 15, 2021

Workers at the Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd on the outskirts of Hyderabad   -  REUTERS

The decade-old ‘Make in India’ partnership is the only source of C-130J empennage globally

Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Limited (TLMAL) announced it recently delivered the 150th C-130J Super Hercules empennage from its manufacturing facility at Adibatla, Hyderabad.

The milestone also marks Lockheed Martin’s ‘Make in India’ partnership forged with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) over a decade ago.

Speaking on the occasion, KT Rama Rao, Telangana Industries Minister, pointed to how Hyderabad had emerged as a major defence and aerospace manufacturing hub. He said efforts were on to attract more investments, including from MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) companies.

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TLMAL was established in 2010 alongside the Indian Air Force’s acquisition of the first six C-130J 30 Super Hercules airlifters. TLMAL is the single global source of the C-130J empennage assemblies that are installed on all new Super Hercules aircraft produced in Marietta, Georgia, in the US.

Sukaran Singh, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, TASL, said, “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 has led India to become the only supplier of C-130J Super Hercules empennage globally.”

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TLMAL empennages are included in C-130Js, which support critical worldwide search-and-rescue, peacekeeping, combat delivery, maritime patrol, special operations, aerial refuelling, medevac and humanitarian response missions. The 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,” said Kiran Dambala, Chief Operating Officer, TLMAL. “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.”

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 C-130J centre wing box components and set up a 4,700 sqm 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 around 2,200 (of 2,500-plus) previously imported empennage components to Tata Sikorsky Aerospace Limited (TSAL), Lockheed Martin’s second joint venture with TASL. The components of the empennage built in Hyderabad will be further indigenised — from 85 to more than 95 per cent — by Q1 2022.

The C-130J Super Hercules provides a proven standard in tactical airlift. The current variant of the C-130 Hercules is deployed by 26 operators in 22 nations.

Published on September 15, 2021

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