Herculean Task, One Way or Another

The Air Force is soliciting information from industry on modernizing legacy C-130H transports with communication, navigation, and air traffic systems compliant with international airspace norms. Now that the service intends to cancel the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program in Fiscal 2013 due to the Pentagon’s budget crunch, it would like to modify 184 C-130H combat-delivery aircraft under the less ambitious Optimize Legacy C-130 Communication, Navigation, Surveillance, Air Traffic Management program, according to last month’s request for information. “This modification will allow for more efficient operations in national and international controlled airspace for the foreseeable future,” states the RFI. Officials plan to meet with industry this month to discuss retrofit options, with a contract award targeted for early 2014. Notional low-rate production of the upgrade kits would begin in 2016, with the first 12 aircraft upgraded by 2018. The Air Force envisions upgrading all 184 airframes by 2023, according to the tentative schedule included with the RFI.