MELBOURNE, Australia, March 10, 2009 -- A Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] official explained to reporters attending the Avalon Air Show today why the C-130J continues to be the platform of choice to meet the growing worldwide demand for tactical air mobility."The C-130J continues to be the airlifter of choice for many nations," said George Standridge, vice president of Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. "Two hundred fifty-seven C-130Js have been ordered through 2008 of which 171 have been delivered. Production will steadily increase from 12 aircraft in 2008 to approximately double by 2010. Lockheed Martin is currently in detailed discussions with several countries and looks forward to continued growth in the C-130J program."Standridge cited several recent C-130J program highlights. In 2007, the first C-130J Foreign Military Sale (FMS) aircraft were sold to Norway with a second FMS sale to India in 2008. During that same period, Canada bought 17 aircraft and Qatar became the first Middle East customer. Last month the United Arab Emirates announced its selection of the C-130J to modernize it airlift fleet.Australia is among the nations that operate the C-130J and holds a unique place in the history of the program. It was the first ever non-U.S. customer for the C-130 and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is also the only service to have flown all variants of the Hercules."Just a few months ago we joined with the RAAF to celebrate 50 years of operational service," said Standridge. "During those 50 years the RAAF has gained a reputation as an airlift operator that will do whatever it takes to get the job done, regardless of the environment."Standridge went on to explain how the C-130J is uniquely designed to "do whatever it takes" by performing a wide variety of missions. The airplane is currently performing missions including air combat (both airland and airdrop); air-refueling; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); weather-reconnaissance; electronic combat; and firefighting. "There is no better time to be a part of this program," Standridge said. "The aircraft is proven with strong operational performance, on time, high-quality deliveries and an unprecedented demand. We now have a backlog of 86 C-130Js, which is the highest we have had since the program was initiated. This backlog secures our production well into 2012."Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.