Boeing announced that the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program is preparing for five aircraft to enter initial operational test and evaluation early next year. “Once evaluation is complete in late 2012, we will have a fully tested and proven weapon system,” said Mahesh Reddy, Boeing’s C-130 AMP program director. The Air Force intends to install new digital cockpits in 221 C-130H2, -H2.5, and –H3 aircraft under AMP. The three C-130s that Boeing modified for developmental testing have since gone through scheduled programmed depot maintenance to bring them up to the AMP production configuration. All three of them are expected to be at Little Rock AFB, Ark., this month. The first two C-130s receiving the new avionics during the program’s production phase are expected to arrive at Little Rock by early 2012, joining the three other airplanes for IOT&E.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.