First USAF H Hercules Upgrades

A 153rd Airlift Wing maintainer plugs in a generator cable into her C-130H after arriving at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 11. Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H is here for test and evaluation on its new modified propeller system and engines. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

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.

A 153rd Airlift Wing maintainer plugs in a generator cable into her C-130H after arriving at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 11. Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H is here for test and evaluation on its new modified propeller system and engines. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

From USAF.

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.

Maintainers from the 153rd Airlift Wing stand by after their C-130H arrived at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 11. Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H is here for test and evaluation on its new modified propeller system and engines. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

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.

RMAF Hercules M30-08 landing at Labuang in late November, 2017

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?

— Malaysian Defence

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5 Comments

  1. It is said that Indian Air Force would send their SU-30MKI to Australian Ex Pitch Black 2018.

    Probably a good time to send our SU-30MKM too?

    Reply
    Actually the Australian Defence Minister has confirmed that Indian participation with the MKIs. As for us, I have been told that we are expected to participate this year though as the plans have yet to be firm up I will not say anything about it apart from saying that the Flankers will not be there.

  2. Aus Ex pitch black 2018 probably too early for RAAF f-35. If it can make it, a SU-30 with a F-35 in the same photo is a one-of-a-kind.

  3. As for the hercules upgrade.

    The engine upgrade as i understand it could be implemented on all allison T56 engines during regular maintenance.

    ” The 3.5 upgrade will improve fuel consumption by at least 8 percent and increases time-on-wing by about 30 percent. The kit is “completely plug-and-play,” and can easily be installed during regular maintenance of the older engines, which takes about 30-45 days ”

    As for 8 bladed prop upgrade, it had been proposed for quite sometime, just waiting for somebody to take it up.

    http://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/foundry/image/?q=60&url=https%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Fthe-drive-staging%2Fmessage-editor%252F1515432443597-np2000.jpg

    As for M30-08, it is one of four converted to tanker. Right now we still have 6 short body hercules, 4 tankers and 2 normal versions (M30-01 and M30-09). Probably those 2 could be comverted for special forces support aircraft, with MAWS and DIRCM systems, FLIR turret, satcom, refueling probe, engine IR supression system.

    http://farm1.staticflickr.com/200/454851449_186f752ddb_b.jpg
    DIRCM

    http://data3.primeportal.net/hangar/sal_provenzano/ak_ang_hc-130hn/images/ak_ang_hc-130hn_27_of_33.jpg
    FLIR turret

    https://www.armytimes.com/resizer/WKviB7HPtDOiqQOWYmtWjZ8iYXk=/1200×0/filters:quality(100)/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-mco.s3.amazonaws.com/public/CBJ2NQ35I5DKRCGB6T53WWRXGU.jpg
    Top hatch mounted SATCOM for C-130.

    https://i2.wp.com/www.airteamimages.com/pics/149/149403_800.jpg
    Probably we can do something like this, salvaging A-4 skyhawk refueling probes to fit to the hercules.

    http://thegreengoblin.net/thelair/gallery/pics/work/aircraft/c130-02.jpg
    IR supressor

  4. Costs

    – center wing box replacement (if needed) usd6.5 mil
    – 8 blade prop usd3 mil*
    – rolls royce T56 series 3.5 upgrade usd3.15 mil*
    – DIRCM usd3 mil
    – FLIR usd0.5 mil
    – satcom usd0.5 mil

    For reference brand new C-130J is around usd70 million. A new A400M is around usd200 million (no idea why our A400M costs usd2-2.5 billion, planned south africa 8 A40M at usd5.2 billion or even indonesias planned 5 A400M buy is usd2 billion).

    So for 14 aircraft, say cockpit upgrade is usd2 mil each (based on rockwell collins upgrade price) plus engine and prop upgrade, a total budget of around usd120 mil is needed (without DIRCM and FLIR). DIRCM and FLIR for only 2 aircraft would be usd7 mil.

    Reply
    The A400M is RM2.5 billion, around $740 milion USD

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