What’s Next?

The Air Force has concluded the development test and evaluation phase of the C-130 avionics modernization program, but the program’s future still appears to be cloudy. According to a release from the 412th Test Support Squadron at Edwards AFB, Calif., the last flight in this phase occurred on Dec. 11 at Edwards, culminating a three-year effort that tallied 295 test missions, including globe-spanning expeditions, and more than 1,000 flight hours. Under the Boeing-led AMP, 221 C-130H-model transports would get modern cockpit displays and communication and navigation systems. With the upgrades, these aircraft would remain viable for decades and be deemed capable of flying safely in congested international airspace. But senior service officials have said the program could be curtailed in scope due to lack of funding, a state caused by more pressing priorities across the service. The first AMP test aircraft flew in September 2006.