To 'J' or not to 'J'

The Canadian defence establishment wants to spend up to $4.6-billion to buy 17 new C-130J Hercules transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin. One of Lockheed's competitors, Airbus Military, wants the Canadian government to buy its new plane, the A400M. As I report tonight, the favourite, Lockheed, as well as the process chosen by the government, is coming under a bit of fire.

“…Underneath the billion-dollar battle between Lockheed and Airbus is a tangled web of professional and personal relationships in Ottawa's political and lobbyist community.
For example, before he became Canada's top soldier, Hillier was on the staff of General Patrick O'Donnell. O'Donnell retired to head up a consultancy, CFN Consultants, and is now the registered lobbyist for Lockheed Martin. The firm Hill and Knowlton is the registered lobbyist for Airbus. It's chief executive is Michael Coates, who worked on the last two Conservative election campaigns, including coaching Prime Minister Harper for the leaders' debates. Gordon O'Connor, before entering politics, worked as a lobbyist at Hill and Knowlton and one of his clients was Airbus.
Both Hillier and O'Connor have scrupulously avoided even mentioning either aircraft by name in public for at least the last six months for fear there may be any accusations of conflicts-of-interest…”

[Read the full story]

One thought on “To 'J' or not to 'J'”

  1. I work for Thornley Fallis, Lockheed Martin’s Public Relations agency in Canada.
    Readers may be interested in visiting the Canadian C-130J website for information on the J as well as Canada’s current Herc fleet.
    Regarding comments in your report, in particular those by NDP defence critic Dawn Black, “It seems incredible to me that we're looking at planes that other nations, like the Americans, have rejected.”
    In fact, the United States has ordered 119 C-130Js. To date (Oct. 27, 2006), 82 of those have been delivered to the Marine Corps (23 of 34), Coast Guard (6 of 6) and Air Force (53 of 79).
    Four other countries, who are military partners of Canada, also have and are using the C-130J. The United Kingdom has 25, Italy has 22, Australia has 12 and Denmark has 3 of the 4 they have ordered.
    C-130J operators from around the world are now operating at a high tempo in both combat and relief support operations. They are all experiencing first hand the high reliability and increased range, speed and payload capabilities of the C-130J.
    Lockheed Martin has an active C-130J production line and thus can deliver aircraft to meet Canada’s timeline.

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