Sweden’s C-130 Hercules aircraft are known as Tp84s over there, and they are currently undergoing an avionics modernization program. Their C-130 AMP will standardize the Swedish C-130 fleet with the installation of a fully integrated, night-vision-goggle compatible digital glass cockpit (i.e. computer screens replace many dials), and a new avionics suite consisting of digital displays and a flight management system from the 737 commercial airliner, both of which provide navigation, safety and communication improvements to meet Global Air Traffic Management requirements. Overall, C-130 AMP program brings the Tp84s up to the USAF’s C-130H2 standard, except that the Swedes will retain their existing defensive systems. The modernization comes on the eve of a greater focus on long-range mobility as Sweden prepares to lead the EU’s Nordic battlegroup.
A query to Boeing, however, revealed that a recent contract announcement for Sweden’s Tp84s had been misreported in several venues…
Boeing’s C-130 AMP
While Lockheed Martin builds the C-130, the main driver behind Boeing’s AMP configuration is compliance with international civil communication, navigation, and surveillance/air traffic management rules. Without that, C-130s that have not modernized would be prohibited from certain flight routes and corridors around the globe. This is inconvenient, time consuming, and costly.
Boeing’s deep experience building global passenger aircraft makes them a logical choice for this kind of upgrade, which includes:
* A modern Digital Glass Cockpit featuring wide field-of-view Head Up Displays (HUDs) for the pilot and co-pilot, 6 Multi-Function Displays (6″x8″ MFDs), 2 Communication and Navigation Control Panels (CNCPs), and Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) compliance.
* All appropriate back end systems to offer full General Air Traffic Management (GATM) civil aviation compliance.
* Improved precision approach and landing capability, and precision airdrop capability, thanks to improved navigation systems and real-time positioning.
* An Open Systems Architecture that uses commercial off the shelf electronics rather than military-designed electronics, in order to make future upgrades easier.
* Elimination of the navigator position via technology upgrades, reducing required crew to 3: pilot, co-pilot, and loadmaster.
* Performance Based Contractor Logistics Support that employs Integrated Vehicle Health Management; establishing a fleet-wide integrated training approach and implementing a common spares base. Boeing’s support approach is intended to make the C-130 fleet more available and more affordable to operate.
Sweden began receiving its existing C-130s in 1965, but the last 5 planes were all delivered in 1981. This makes their newest aircraft almost 30 years old. The upgrades would bring Sweden’s 8 aircraft to C-130H2 standard, but with Swedish defensive systems.
The US Air Force also has a contract for C-130 AMP work on up to 222 aircraft, but issues with the program’s cost have surfaced. As of September 2009, the USAF does not believe they can bridge the gap between their desired $7 million per plane cost, and Boeing’s $9 million. Accordingly, they are looking to cancel the contract.
Contracts and Key Events
The confusion arose from a pair of announcements on DefenseLINK:
July 26/06: Boeing Co. in Wichita, KS received a $44.5 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification for an engineering change proposal for the Sweden C-130 avionics modernization program engineering and manufacturing development. At this time, $19.8 million has been obligated. This work will be complete January 2010. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, issued the contract (F33657-01-C-0047/P00099).
While many outlets reported these contracts as cumulative, Boeing confirmed that the July 26th announcement was simply a revision of the July 14th announcement.
July 14/06: Boeing Co. in Wichita, KS received a $39.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for engineering change proposal 0305, Sweden C-130 avionics modernization program engineering and manufacturing development. At this time, $19.8 million has been obligated, and work will be complete January 2010. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (F33657-01-C-0047/P00099).
This was superseded by the July 26/06 announcement.
March 10/05: The Swedish Air Force becomes the first international customer for Boeing’s C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, signing a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) to modernize its fleet of 8 C-130E/H aircraft. The LOA will lead to a foreign military sales contract between Boeing and the U.S. Air Force.
The contract is expected to be completed in early summer 2005, with the first aircraft is anticipated to enter modification in 2007, and the last modified aircraft delivered to Sweden in 2009. Boeing release.
* Boeing – C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP)
* GE – Boeing C-130 AMP
* Boeing (April 4/08) – Boeing and Sweden Team Up for C-130 AMP Success