USAF to upgrade 176 Guard and Reserve C-130H airlifters

by Gareth Jennings

The US Air Force (USAF) is to upgrade the avionics of 176 Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules transport aircraft operated by the Air National Guard (ANG) and the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), it was disclosed on 4 June.

The USAF is to upgrade the avionics of 176 C-130H airlifters to improve their operational capabilities and mission readiness rates. (US Air Force)

The USAF is to upgrade the avionics of 176 C-130H airlifters to improve their operational capabilities and mission readiness rates. (US Air Force)

The Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded L-3 Communications Integrated Systems a USD499.6 billion contract to complete the work at its Waco facility in Texas by 30 September 2029.

While neither the nature nor the scope of the work to be performed on the 1970s-era aircraft has been revealed, L-3 has performed avionic upgrades for other C-130H operators over recent years. These other projects have seen L-3 install new communication, navigation, and global air traffic management avionics capabilities, as well as reliability upgrades on critical environmental and power systems to increase mission availability.

The older variant Hercules’, including the C-130H, have over recent years displayed some of the lowest availability figures (reported to Jane’s as being as low as 50% in the early 2010s) and the highest operating costs of the entire USAF inventory. This upgrade should go a long way to tackling this.

Other ongoing upgrades to the ANG and AFRC C-130H fleet includes replacing the standard four-bladed propeller system with the Collins Aerospace six-bladed NP2000 propeller system already fitted to the Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye and the Grumman C-2 Greyhound.

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The US Air Force (USAF) is to upgrade the avionics of 176 Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules transport ...

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