Thales to Upgrade French C-130H Avionics
Thales and Sabena Technics have won a EUR 40+ million (about $60 million) contract from the French DGA(Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) procurement agency to design, develop and deliver avionics upgrades to France’s 14 C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft. France doesn’t talk much about its C-130s, preferring to stress locally-designed aircraft like the similar 2-engined C-160 Transall, and the forthcoming Airbus A400Ms. With airlift requirements increasing given deployments in Africa and Central Asia, however, upgrades to the existing fleet are a must.
These upgrades will ensure the Hercules’ continued compliance with ICAO regulations, allowing unlimited use of European and international airspace (rather than restricted flight zones and special permits) from 2010. This comprehensive upgrade also includes standardization of system ergonomics to bring them more in line with the current “glass cockpit” standard on other aircraft. Thales and Sabena Technics will design, develop and integrate a new avionics architecture on a prototype C-130 aircraft, which will be qualified by Atelier Industriel de l’Aeronautique (AIA). Once qualified, Thales and Sebena will supply the kits, and AIA will handle installation on the rest of the French C-130 fleet. Thales will provide through-life support for the new avionics suite to 2013.
With Boeing’s C-130 Avionics Modernization Program experiencing rising costs, Thales sees this project as a “springboard to the global market of more than 200 C-130 Hercules transport aircraft that will require avionics upgrades in the next few years.” Thales release.