US Air Force, SAN ANTONIO: A C-130 Hercules with a comprehensive avionics modification completed its maiden flight Sept. 19 from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
The C-130 Avionics Modernization Program aircraft provides upgrades for C-130s at one-seventh the cost of a new, basic C-130J aircraft.
The aircraft's new avionics system features digital displays and the Boeing 737 commercial airliner's proven flight management system, which provides navigation, safety and communication improvements to meet Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management, or CNS/ATM, requirements. The CNS/ATM upgrade will allow the C-130 fleet to be deployed worldwide.
Piloted by Maj. Frank Delsing from Edwards AFB, Calif., and Mike Leone, a Boeing test pilot based in St. Louis, the AMP-modified C-130, designated H2, flew its initial flight for approximately three hours over Texas.
The aircraft is the first C-130 to undergo trial installations. Boeing inducted the aircraft in January 2005, after accepting it at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. Boeing also has inducted the second aircraft, H2.5, and has begun the modification process.
The enhanced digital avionics increase situational awareness for the warfighter tenfold over old analog cockpits, dramatically increasing information available to aircrews at a glance, simplifying tasks and decreasing workload. Upgrade commonality brought by the AMP offers additional flexibility in assigning aircrews regardless of the model design type.
In addition, the C-130 AMP meets U.S. Special Forces requirements while the basic C-130J requires additional mission equipment enhancements.
The Air Force initiated the C-130 modification program to reduce the number of C-130 configurations in the fleet, including highly specialized versions in service with the Air Force Special Operations Command. Navy, Marines and international customers will be able to leverage work accomplished on the Air Force program to ensure their C-130 crews have the most capable C-130 aircraft available.
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