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Israel completes KC/C-130H upgrades

Israel has upgraded eight Lockheed Martin KC/C-130H Hercules (C-130HI Karnaf [Rhinoceros] in national service) airlifters, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) announced on 7 February.

The effort, which was first touted in 2008 and officially launched in 2014, has been led by Elbit Systems. Its goal was to increase the capabilities of the 1970s-era C-130H fleet operated by 131 Squadron ‘Knights of the Yellow Bird’ while making it compliant with international commercial airspace regulations.

“When it came time to renew the ‘Rhinos’ that were in service in the [IAF] from the early 1970s it was decided to replace some of them with [C-130J-30 Hercules] ‘Samson’ aircraft and to improve the rest of the ‘Rhinos’. That is, add new electronic systems to them,” the IAF said.

As previously reported by Janes , the C-130H fleet has been fitted with a modern ‘glass’ cockpit heads-up display (HUD) and a new radar to enhance its precision flying and low-level capabilities at night and in adverse weather conditions. Other enhancements to both the C-130H and C-130E have included the fitting of a Rafael Toplite forward-looking infrared (FLIR) chin-mounted turret, enhanced avionics, and the installation of new wings on some aircraft.

Besides its four KC-130H and four C-130H platforms, the IAF fields six C-130Es and seven C-130J-30s.

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