Last Updated Sep 11, 2009 5:41 AM EDT
The support contract was set for negotiation after the aircraft had already been purchased. The government estimate for this contract was in the realm of $1.7 billion over twenty years. Unfortunately it has turned out the the prices currently being quoted are over this. There is also concerns that not enough of the work will go to Canadian companies.
Lockheed is obligated to offset some of the cost of the procurement in Canada. The original intent was that this would be directly related to the aircraft. This could have been parts of the aircraft for manufacturing or support after they enter service or maintenance activities. When Lockheed felt that this was too hard the government changed it to just be investment in other Canadian companies and economic activities. This idea has caused Canadian companies to feel slighted as they had hoped to have a role in the production of the C-130J.
The Canadian government is going to have to come to some sort of support contract for the aircraft. It does not have the resources right now to provide organic support so some CLS will be needed. Depending how the contract is negotiated it may end up limiting how much the aircraft can be used and how they are used. There really should be no limits on this as they are vitally important to conducting combat operations in Afghanistan.
If there is no support available then the aircraft will just sit at some base. This is obviously an unacceptable situation although it has happened in the past that new equipment could not be used due to shortages of parts or safety reasons. If this were to happen it would be a major embarrassment to Canada. One would assume that Lockheed Martin would also be motivated to get to a price that is affordable to the user so that it could maximize its revenue from the sale.