SHAH ALAM: First USAF H Hercules Upgrades. As you are probably aware USAF is conducting tests on an upgraded H variant of the C-130. The aircraft is currently undergoing testing at the Eglin AFB in Florida. As RMAF is set to conduct its own upgrade of 14 Hercules aircraft some had called for the modifications done on the USAF bird to be be included in the program.
The first to cut through an unusual afternoon fog was the sound that seemed like a swarm of millions of insects angrily buzzing in unison. Then, the nose of a C-130 popped through that dense whiteness followed by 32 spinning blades creating the ominous sound.
The Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H arrived here Jan. 11 to begin testing.
The Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing-owned aircraft will be here for several months undergoing multiple test flights. The goal of these evaluations is to collect data and confirm the increased fuel efficiency, reliability and overall performance improvements gained from the new propellers and upgraded engines.
The benefits of the upgrades include shorter take-off roll, improved climb, quieter operations, and lower operating and support costs, according to Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the program office for the test.
“With these modifications, we’ll see significant improvements that are needed to ensure longevity and mission flexibility,” said Maj. Leanna Thomas, 153rd AW C-130H pilot.
The flight testing will be conducted by 153rd AW and C-130 Combined Test Force aircrews. ANG Airmen will maintain the aircraft during its time here.
The Wyoming Air National Guard was chosen specifically to receive the C-130H because of its involvement in the initial testing with the new systems in 2008, when the Air Force explored the idea of upgrading the H-model.
“When we add these modifications to all of our aircraft, we will greatly increase the reliability and performance of the C-130H,” said Col. Justin Walrath, 153rd AW commander.
As I had posted before the upgrades planned for RMAF Hercules are those involving avionics and communications systems to meet international aviation traffic standards. This was planned back in 2010 but had been delayed through-out the years for various reasons, mostly it was about the money or the lack of it. A contract was signed in 2014 but it appears that a new one will be signed though the exact dates is unclear.
It should happened at DSA 2018 in April but as always there is always the possibility it will be hold back further than that. If the program is not contracted for this April, should we include the upgrades as in the USAF bird? Perhaps if the USAF conclude it was worthwhile (it is still undergoing testing). But more importantly do we have the money to do it?
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