US defence giant Lockheed Martin said yesterday it was hoping to sell the United Arab Emirates up to 12 military air transport jets before the end of 2009.
"We have had discussions about the C-130s. The UAE currently have the older C-130 now and they are looking into upgrading to C-130J," said James Grant, Vice-President of Customer Engagement at Lockheed Martin's Air Mobility.
"We are anticipating a request for between eight to 12 aircraft," he said on the sideline of the Idex 2009 defence show in Abu Dhabi.
He said he was hoping to conclude talks over the potential deal by the end of the year, but declined to reveal its value.
He said that Saudi Arabia also remains "for the longhaul a very key C-130 customer, with a current fleet of 54 aircraft.
"We are having a dialogue with them across their whole fleet."