The US Department of Defence (DoD) has selected Rockwell Collins as the prime contractor for the C-130 Hercules fleet upgrade and supply of associated equipment to Pakistan.

Under the terms of the $30m contract, the company will design, manufacture, integrate, train and deliver 11 C-130E model kits and five C-130B integrated avionics suites and kits to Pakistani Air Force (PAF).

The contract covers the development, validation, and delivery of consolidated B/E flight manual and associated checklists, as well as maintenance supplements.

Work under the contract will be carried out at PAF’s Nur Khan Base, Islamabad.

Delivery under the contract is expected to be completed by late 2020.

The upgrade is expected to enable the continued operation of the PAF’S C-130 fleet for counter-insurgency / counter-terrorism flights, regional humanitarian operations, troop transport, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions within Pakistan and in the region.

"Though the authorities have not yet disclosed details about the potential investors, local media reported that four companies expressed interest in the deal."

In 2014, Pakistan placed a request with the US for avionics upgrades, engine management and mechanical upgrades, cargo delivery system installation, and replacement of outer wing sets on six of its C-130B/E aircraft.

The upgrades, estimated to cost $100m, were required for continued operation and effectiveness of the fleet, which is facing airworthiness and obsolescence issues.

The C-130 Hercules primarily performs intratheater portion of the airlift mission, and is capable of operating from rough, dirt strips. It paradrops troops and equipment into hostile areas.

Powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines, the C-130 aircraft is designed to conduct airborne assault, search-and-rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance and aerial refuelling, maritime patrol and aerial fire-fighting missions.

Image: US Air Force’s C-130 aircraft. Photo: courtesy: USAF / Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen.