The first of six C-130Js for the Indian Air Force.

Lockheed Martin Corp. has delivered the first of six aircraft that the Indian Air Force purchased in a $1.2 billion deal negotiated with the U.S. in 2008.

The Georgia-made C-130J military transport planes represent the first U.S. military aircraft headed to India since World War II.

Lockheed Martin, a global defense and aerospace firm based in Bethesda, Md., turned over the plane to Indian Air Force officials during a Dec. 16 ceremony at its Marietta factory. The first two C-130Js are set to fly to India early next year, and the four other aircraft will follow in the summer of 2011.

The order is the first step in Lockheed Martin’s long-term plan for growth in India, an increasingly important market for the company, said Peter Simmons, a company spokesman.

“It’s the beginning of what we believe will end up being a significant presence for the corporation, not just Marietta, but for the Lockheed Martin corporation, in India,” Mr. Simmons told GlobalAtlanta in a phone interview.

Lockheed Martin is also currently competing against Chicago-based Boeing Co. and some international firms to provide the Indian Air Force with 126 combat aircraft.

Mr. Simmons said that the competition will be narrowed to two companies next year.

The C-130Js, four-engine military transport aircraft produced at the Marietta factory, will be delivered in stages to the Hindon Air Force Station located outside New Delhi.

The comprehensive contract between the U.S. and India includes the six aircraft, training for the aircrews and technicians, ground support, loading vehicles, servicing carts and a team of specialists based in India to provide support for the first three years.

Lockheed Martin specializes in the research, design and manufacturing of advanced technology systems. It employs over 133,000 people and has offices in Brazil, Canada, Japan, Spain, the U.K. The company has facilities in 46 states throughout the U.S.

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