C-130J Hercules aircraft

Boeing and Warner Robins Air Logistics Center have completed the delivery of the fourth US Air Force (USAF) C-130 Avionics Modernisation Programme (AMP) aircraft to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, US.

The low-rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft is the first of five AMP aircraft to be modified by Warner Robins; with the first three modified by Boeing. The aircraft will undergo initial operational testing and evaluation (IOT&E) at Little Rock Air Force Base later this month, followed by delivery of the final LRIP aircraft next month.

The AMP programme aims to standardise and modernise the aircraft avionics and reduce total ownership costs for the USAF C-130 fleet, including specialised versions operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The programme is focused on replacing the aircraft’s existing instruments with state-of-the-art digital cockpit displays, including heads-up display (HUD) and a new digital avionics system, eliminating the need for a crew navigator for all combat delivery missions.

The avionics system features fully integrated, night-vision-goggle-compatible digital displays and flight management system, providing navigation, safety and communication improvements to meet Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management requirements. The upgrade will boost C-130 functional capabilities and support simplified fleet-wide training as well as incorporation of future technologies.

Boeing C-130 AMP programme director Mahesh Reddy said: "C-130 AMP will standardise the C-130H fleet and reduce annual ownership cost, while offering the crews more situational awareness to perform their missions."

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Over the life cycle of the programme, Boeing is expected to provide the AMP modifications and upgrades to 222 C-130 transport aircraft. The Lockheed Martin-built C-130 is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft used by the USAF to perform airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refuelling, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting missions.

Image: Boeing delivers the fourth C-130 AMP aircraft to the USAF for initial operational testing and evaluation.