September 20, 2012
Credit: Credit: Ted Carlson
U.S. Air Mobility Command officials are still reviewing needs for a revamped plan to improve the avionics of the oldest C-130s in the fleet, according to Rowayne Schatz, director of requirements for the command.
The Air Force opted to terminate its longtime, multibillion-dollar effort, led by Boeing, to conduct a full avionics modernization program (AMP) for the C-130. “While it was a great upgrade . . . it was still the same size cargo compartment, the same engines, and basically you got the same capability of the legacy aircraft in many ways,” Schatz told a small audience at this week’s Air Force Association conference in National Harbor, Md.
Schatz says the service hopes to take advantage of work done already by allies to conduct a more simple, affordable avionics upgrade for its Lockheed Martin C-130 fleets as it ponders a way forward. Companies such as Rockwell Collins, L-3 Communications and Esterline have conducted streamlined AMP efforts for foreign customers and are considering options to propose to the Air Force.
Schatz says it is not yet known when requirements will be firm and when a request for proposals will be released. Roughly 188 C-130s are likely to be included in the modification.
The Air Force plans in its Vision 2028 to have 324 C-130s in the fleet, including 134 new J-models. That is down from about 372 airlifters in the tactical fleet today, including 12 C-27Js (which are proposed for decommissioning), 273 C-130 H/E models and 87 C-130Js.
The fleet size reduction is a result of a review of national military strategy that reduced the overall requirements for the mobility fleet.