Collins Aerospace Provides Avionics for C-130H Modernization Program

Collins is helping L3Harris Technologies bring National Guard and Reserve C-130Hs into the digital era.

A U.S. Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing, McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, West Virginia, awaits takeoff to deliver supplies to Puerto Rico on October 5, 2017, at Savannah Air National Guard Base, Savannah, Georgia after Hurricane Maria. (Image courtesy: U.S. Air National Guard/Technical Sergeant De-Juan Haley)

The Lockheed C-130H Hercules  fleet operated by the Air National Guard  and U.S. Air Force Reserve  is getting new Collins Aerospace Systems  avionics that will help extend the life of the legacy aircraft by 20 years. Collins and its commercial off-the-shelf Flight2 integrated avionics system  was chosen by L3Harris Technologies, Inc.  to play a key role in the U.S. Air Force's $499-million C-130H Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 (AMP INC 2) program.

The H-variant of the C-130 – differentiated by its use of Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines – was first introduced in 1974. Collins’ contribution to the workhorse C-130H platform will be seven multifunctional displays (MFDs), three control display units (CDUs), and a new digital autopilot that will replace over 100 analog instruments in each of the fleet’s 176 aircraft. The systems are integrated with modern satellite communications and automation systems and are Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management-compliant (CNS/ATM-compliant).

According to Collins, these new glass cockpit systems will reduce pilot workload while improving situational awareness – making it easier for the pilots to overlay flight plans, see nearby points-of-interest, and view radar and threat information. The new avionics will also improve the safety and reliability of the C-130H.

Learn more about aircraft modernization 

“Prior to our selection for the AMP INC 2 program, 190 C-130 aircraft have already been modified, or are on contract to be modified, with our proven Flight2 avionics. Our history of successful installations played a big role in our selection,” says Dave Schreck, vice president and general manager for Military Avionics and Helicopters at Collins Aerospace. “These aircraft are important to national security, and by working with L3Harris, our integrated avionics system will support the extension of the life of the planes for another 20 years.”

The avionics contract adds to the suite of nose-to-tail solutions such as propellers, wheels, brakes, secure communications, Head-up Displays/Enhanced Vision Systems (HUD/EVS), and advanced cargo loading systems that Collins Aerospace provides for the C-130 aircraft.

Collins Aerospace Systems is based in Cedar Rapids and is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). The company was formed in 2018 through the merger of Rockwell Collins and UTC Aerospace Systems.

William Kucinski  is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

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