Shannon Airport is to be the base for some of ASL Aviation Group’s Lockheed Martin LM-100J Super Hercules fleet once the type enters into service from 2018.
On 16 July, ASL announced at the Farnborough International Airshow it had signed a letter of intent with Lockheed for 10 LM-100J. Speaking at the Farnborough announcement, ASL chief executive Hugh Flynn said his company would decide whether to place a firm order within the next 18 months. ASL, which is based in Ireland, already uses Shannon for its subsidiary Air Contractor’s maintenance base.
Before 2018, the South African aviation company plans to base two Lockheed Martin L-100 at Shannon in the near future, to be used on missions ranging from oil-spill response to humanitarian aid. The aircraft are on operations for the United Nations (UN) in Africa. The firm has a fleet of nine L-100. ASL’s corporate affairs director, Andrew Kelly tells Air Cargo Week: “At the moment the aircraft are fully tasked working for the UN, the International Red Cross and the World Food Programme in Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.
“We will move to a Shannon base, particularly perhaps from an oil spill relief perspective, as soon as possible, but I can’t put an actual date on it as yet.”
The L-100 is the civilian version of Lockheed’s military cargo transport C-130 and has a L-100-30 version with a longer fuselage. This fuselage is the same as the standard C-130 fuselage. The total cargo volume is 171.5 cubic metres (6,057 cubic feet). The L-100-30 has a payload capacity of 23.6 tonnes (52,057 pounds). More than 100 L-100s were produced from 1964-1992 at Lockheeed’s Marietta factory.
The LM-100J will also be made there. The prototype LM-100J is expected to make test flights there in 2017. The LM-100J will a new flight deck and avionics and new engines. The 2018 LM-100J delivery date is dependent on the US government’s Federal Aviation Administration certifying the aircraft for civilian use. Like the L-100, the LM-100J is the civilian version of Lockheed’s C-130J Super Hercules. The C-130J can carry up to 18 tonnes of cargo.