Collins Aerospace Systems and partners have completed the first cockpit upgrade for the French Air Force’s C-130H Hercules aircraft.

France’s defence procurement agency DGA awarded a contract to an industry team comprising Collins Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and Sabena Technics in September 2016 to perform the modernisation of 14 C-130H aircraft.

Collins Aerospace is the prime contractor for the programme and plays a key role in the ongoing certification flight test campaign.

As part of the programme, the company has equipped the aircraft with its Flight2 avionics solution, which features a digital glass cockpit, advanced communications, navigation, surveillance, and integrated flight management system.

Other enhancements include the dual HGS-4500 Head-Up Guidance (HGS) with EVS-3000 multispectral enhanced vision system for improved situational awareness.

The HGS also features an electro-optical infrared camera for asset detection.

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The upgrades are intended to enhance operational capabilities of the C-130H aircraft to support the French Air Force’s specific mission requirements.

Collins Aerospace France Avionics managing director Olivier Pedron said: “Modernising to the Flight2 system provides the French Air Force with the latest generation of avionics and optimised support and maintenance solutions to complete demanding missions all over the world.”

The company noted that the first two aircraft will undergo flight and qualification test by the DGA.

After the testing is completed, Collins Aerospace and Sabena Technics will deliver modification kits to the Service Industriel de l’Aéronautique (SIAé) for installation on the remaining 12 C-130Hs in the fleet.

In September 2017, the firm completed its first Flight2 avionics system integration for the modernisation programme in Toulouse.

Collins Aerospace’s Flight2 solution will allow the French C-130H to comply with the latest International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.

The company has upgraded or is under contract to upgrade more than 371 C-130 aircraft with its Flight2 integrated avionics solution.

In March this year, the firm won a contract to modernise the avionics system of the Portuguese Air Force’s C-130H aircraft.