C-130J Reaches USAF IOC, Adds $110M for Multinational Upgrades
The privately-developed C-130J Super Hercules has been the focus of a great deal of scrutiny and even controversy, including a budgetary near-death experience and Congressional reinstatement over the Pentagon’s objections, followed by a multi-year American contract and then more controversy about overestimated cancellation costs.
Several countries were already buying C-130Js, however, and have been flying them for some time. While the USAF was busy certifying that its C-130Js have reached the “Initial Operating Capability” milestone, therefore, other customers were negotiating jointly with Lockheed for upgrades…
Lockheed Martin has now entered into a $110 million upgrade contract to upgrade and enhance the C-130J Super Hercules transports flown by Australia, Britain, Italy and Denmark.
Air Force Technology list the number of C-130J aircraft bought by these partners as:
- Royal Australian Air Force: 12
- Britain: 25 (10, plus 15 stretched C-130J-30s, all delivered)
- Italian Air Force: 22 (12, plus 10 stretched C-130J-30s, all delivered)
- Danish Air Force 4 (3 stretched C-130J-30s, plus 1 ordered in July 2004)
All four participating countries will share the cost of development, design, test and integration, while fielding the upgrades in their own chosen time frame. Known as Block 6.1, the upgrades include:
- Improved Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management systems.
- A common Flight Management System.
- Takeoff and Landing Data update enhancements.
- A Terrain Awareness Warning System for low-level/bad weather flight, with both audio and visual cues. This has been standard equipment on special forces variants for some time, but appears to be moving into the mainstream.
- Enhanced Identification Friend or Foe systems.
- An updated loading ramp, and door hydraulics system to support high altitude airdrops.
- A Safe/Gunbox /Storage unit on the aircraft.
- Development of a robust PC-based system called the Data Transfer and Diagnostics System (DTADS) to enhance aircraft diagnostics and health management. Driving down maintenance and operating costs is becoming a widespread preoccupation.