The Australian MoD has approved A$45m to upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) C-130J Hercules fleet systems, as part of a multinational block upgrade programme.

The upgrades, to be introduced through the C-130J joint user group global project arrangement, will address system obsolescence and maintain coalition compatibility that will enable the aircraft to comply with global air traffic standards.

The approval will cover the design, testing and acquisition of modification kits for the C-130J block 7.0 upgrade.

Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner said the block 7.0 Upgrade would enable Australia’s fleet of C-130Js to meet new global air traffic management requirements and continue to operate in global airspace.

The RAAF C-130J performs air logistics support, aero-medical evacuation, search and survivor assistance, troop transport and airdrop operations.

“The C-130J is the workhorse of the Royal Australian Air Force,” Faulkner said.

“The C-130J has conducted combat airlift in the Middle East area of operations since August 2004 and three aircraft are currently stationed in the Middle East.

“They are also frequently called on for short-notice operations in the South-East Asian and Pacific regions as well as responding to domestic contingencies such as providing flood relief in North Queensland.”