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Portugal details Hercules aircraft modernisation effort

The Portuguese Air Force (FAP) is scheduled to receive its first two modernised Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules tactical airlifters by the end of 2021, a FAP representative told Janes on 29 June. One C-130H and one C-130H-30 are undergoing modernisation at Embraer's OGMA – Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal.

The flight testing phase of the C-13H-30 modernised prototype is scheduled to start in September, with delivery of the modernised C-13H-30 and C-130H slated for November and December, respectively, Major José Manuel Baptista Monteiro, C-130H Weapon Systems Manager, told Janes .

The remaining two aircraft – one C-130H and one C-130H-30 – are scheduled for delivery to the FAP in 2022.

OGMA was awarded a contract worth EUR15.5 million in November 2018 to update the two C-130H and two C-130H-30 aircraft in 23 months. The fleet is fielded by Squadron 501 Bisontes in a range of missions, including personnel and cargo transport, search and rescue (SAR), and aerial delivery.

The modernised fleet was scheduled for delivery between 2019 and 2020; however the Covid-19 pandemic and budget restrictions have slowed the effort.

The modernisation, to comply with regional Communications Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) requirements, is co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding programme of the European Union's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) via its Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) mechanism.

The aircraft receive a Collins Aerospace Flight2 digital glass cockpit and equipment from Becker Avionics, Flightcell, and other companies.

Specifically, they are equipped with a radio altimeter; V/VHF and VHF; radios; an intercom system; satellite

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