Raytheon will install MXF-626K VHF Communications Systems on the US fleet of 178 C-130H Hercules aircraft, for them to meet the new European Air Traffic Management requirements.

Lockheed Martin-built C-130 Hercules is a four-engine heavylifter with enough space to carry bulky equipment, including artillery pieces and tanks.

Under a $29.6m contract, the company will upgrade the aircraft’s C-130 radios with 8.33 kilohertz (kHz) channel spacing, in the range of 118 to 137 megahertz (MHz).

"Our focus is on ensuring Hercules operators can communicate freely, reliably and securely wherever their missions take them."

The MXF-626K communications system provides air-to-air and air-to-ground line-of-sight single channel ground and air radio system (SINCGARS), air traffic control, and maritime band operations in single channel and frequency hopping modes.

Installed on more than 400 C-130H and C-130J aircraft, the MXF-626K is designed to replace the existing ARC-186 radio onboard C-130H.

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems integrated communications systems vice-president Scott Whatmough said: "In today’s complex battlespace, reliable communications is more important than ever before.

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"Our focus is on ensuring Hercules operators can communicate freely, reliably and securely wherever their missions take them."

Raytheon won the contract at a time when the US Department of Defense (DoD) expressed displeasure over the execution of the $1bn GPS OCX deal.

The company is equipping the US Air Force’s global positioning system (GPS) III satellites with ground systems.

The US has considered cancellation of the contract over delays in production.

However, DoD undersecretary for acquisition Frank Kendall said that they will continue with Raytheon instead of looking for a new contractor, though it means a delay of two more years.

Image: A C-130 Hercules from the North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing takes off from McClellan Airfield in California. US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Hector Garcia.