Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) announced late last week that he has asked the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to increase the number of new C-130J aircraft, which are manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, Georgia.

That Lockheed Martin factory, Loudermilk went on to say, employs 3,000 Georgia residents.

Loudermilk wrote a letter last week to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and urged the DOD to increase the number of new C-130J aircraft in the Fiscal Year 2023-2028 budget request.

In his letter, Loudermilk cited what he called “growing threats across the globe” as a good reason to continue manufacturing the C-130J.

“The C-130 is the longest continuously running military production line in history. The current C-130J Super Hercules is the most capable tactical airlifter in the world. C-130J production is currently declining from 2020’s health rate of 24 plus aircraft per year down to a minimum 16 per year,” Loudermilk wrote.

Exactly 380 suppliers across 36 states support nearly 30,000 direct and indirect jobs associated with the C-130J production line, resulting in $3.7 billion in economic impact, Loudermilk wrote.

“By design, the C-130J provides significant operational/support savings, more operational capability per aircraft, lower life-cycle costs, common logistics/training support, and improved active duty/air reserve component interoperability,” Loudermilk wrote.

The Lockheed Martin C-130 is the Air Force’s principal tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft. The C-130J Hercules, the latest model, features a glass cockpit, digital avionics and a new propulsion system with a six-bladed propeller, according to the website

Compared to C-130s, the C-130J, according to the Air Force’s website, “climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance.”

“C-130J/J-30 major system improvements include advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics, color multifunctional liquid crystal and head-up displays and state-of-the-art navigation that includes a dual inertial navigation system and GPS,” according to the Air Force.

“The aircraft also features fully integrated defensive systems, low-power color radar, digital moving map display, new turboprop engines with six-bladed all-composite propellers and a digital auto pilot. The C-130J/J-30 also includes improved fuel, environmental and ice-protection and an enhanced cargo-handling system.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected].