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Saudi Arabia Seeks $6.7 Billion of U.S. Transport Planes

November 09, 2012

Saudi Arabia plans to buy 20 C-130J military transport planes, five KC-130J refueling aircraft and related equipment from Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT:US) valued at about $6.7 billion, the Pentagon said today in a statement.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the potential sale to Saudi Arabia, the agency said in a statement posted on its website. It said Saudi Arabia needs the airplanes to “sustain its aging fleet, which faces increasing obsolescence,”

The C-130J-30 variant of the four-engine turbo-prop plane that Saudi Arabia is seeking has 15 extra feet of fuselage compared with the plane’s standard model, according to Lockheed, the plane’s maker. The extra space lets the plane carry two additional cargo pallets, according to Lockheed’s website. The KC-130 J refueling plane is also made by Bethesda, Maryland- based Lockheed.

The proposed “sale to Saudi Arabia represents the largest foreign military sale of C-130s in the program’s history,” Peter Simmons, a Lockheed spokesman said in an e-mail.

Lockheed Martin rose 64 cents to $90.56 at 1 p.m. in New York trading after climbing 11 percent this year.

The possible sale also includes 120 engines, including 20 spares made by London-based Rolls Royce Holdings Plc (RR/), and 25 Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems made by Rockwell Collins Inc. (COL:US) based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Saudi Arabia received its first C-130 in 1965, according to Lockheed Martin’s website. The Middle East kingdom now operates 50 older models of the transports, Simmons said.

The proposed sale of the transport planes follows the Pentagon’s announcement this week that Qatar and United Arab Emirates are seeking U.S. missile defense systems valued at as much as $16.4 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gopal Ratnam in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at

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