Jump to content
Aero Precision provides military aviation aftermarket solutions for c-130
Sign in to follow this  
Spectre623

AMP program on again?

Recommended Posts

Article in this months AF Association mag states that LT.Gen Clark ANG chief says AMP and other upgrades are a must for legacy C-130H's. Here we go again! Bill:lol:

Edited by Spectre623

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the AF is finally observing public law and using the allocated funding for it's intended purpose.

The "new" AMP program will be implemented in two increments. The major items to be replaced in increment 1 will include new radios and transponder.  Increment 2 will include the glass panel displays, but for some unknown reason, retain the Navigator.

Congress is questioning the AF's timeline & is requiring a reevaluation. They basically think the AF won't get all the Hs done in time for the airspace requirements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So we'll bolt 15 year old technology on to modernize our Herks?  

Geez...let a new contract already...or bring back C-130X! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really, a new contract?? Do you know how long that would take with today's AF contracting, and how much more money it'll end up wasting?  Time is wasting...this "15 year old" technology the AMP has will allow upgrades so much easier...per design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, the J is actually not "ready to roll". They too need to be modified to meet RNP requirements. They only just got the radios we need a couple years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do the min RNP or bolt in the Honeywell system the civil operators are using and use PFPS moving map for software, 3.5 engines and 8-bladed props with EVH.  80% of a J for 60% of the cost.  Done. ;)  Seriously, use a SMP to run tactical applications, but default to proven civilian software that's modern.  Open architecture wouldn't hurt either.

 

Yes, let a new contract.  I don't care what it will cost or how long it takes - the attitude that we should stick with a proven losing program because we've already spent so much is why we're here in the first place - THIS is what's wrong with contracting.  

I'm not slamming the people working the issue, including yourself, rather, the lunacy that even allowed the Boeing win in the first place - 737 FMS for a tactical aircraft = dumb.  But someone signed off on it - wait, wasn't that the general that got fired?  Too bad, ink is dry.  No, this isn't about the guys in the trenches who want to see a good product on the airplanes, but AMP is a failed experiment...sunk cost.  Let's move on.

Heck, we could almost put Garmin 1000 in and be so far further down the road than we are today, it's infuriating.  Most modern displays are smart, so have their own processors.  Database storage is cheap.  The only "developmental" cost would be tactical employment stuff - airdrop, airland, low-level.  Moving maps with synthetic terrain and color-coded heights are in GA now, so the technology is not only available, it's affordable.  

But we'll continue feeding the military industrial complex and our warfighters will get inadequate equipment, late, and overpriced....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When does this madness end? The entire military procurement system and aviation in particular has gone completely off the track, yet continues to race on at an increasingly alarming rate of speed. Take your pick: KC-46,,,, a 767 at/near the end of it's useful commercial life however, it's not going to hit the flightline in force until 2017/18 afer 4 - 5 years of development and several boatloads of money being spent. F-35.... a technological marvel, innovative, complex, cutting edge, but we all know that at some point Congress is going to eventually pass a kidney stone and claim they had no idea of the "real cost" and immediately chop the total number to be purchased, which will of course drive up the price (hello F-22, B-2, take your pick). Deja vu.

One of the reasons that Germany lost WWII was due to their equipment being over engineered, excessively complex and too expensive to produce in adequate numbers to defeat the might of the US war machine.       

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not quite sure why people think the AMP system failed...except that I think everyone who says it has never flown it, or at least learned how to operate it properly. Just an observation.  I firmly believe the system failed AMP....unrelated to the airplane.

Just because the FMS was derived from a 737 doesn't mean much. I think the idea was that it was less work to make it do the Herc stuff, than to make a "SCNS" type of system do all the stuff needed for civilian airspace requirements. Remember, it was all the extra stuff AFSOC wanted out of the system that drove the cost up & extended the timeline...then they left the program hanging, taking their funding, but leaving the bill.  I think we avoided tons of certification requirements by using a fielded FMS.  The goal was to fly the Herc within modern civilian airspace....you think LM or anyone else has more capability than Boeing?  Why can't the J model fly a GPS approach downtown? (I blame this on AF more than LM)

I do think the folks underestimated what it would take to get SKE to work in the FMS....but really.....SKE?  I'm not sure why we even hang onto that requirement.  The last time it was used in anger was for the Haiti Head-fake....almost to disastrous end.

Anyway, my point is, that without all of AFSOC's crazy system requirements, AMP will work just fine for what the slick fleet needs it for.  The airdrop functions beautifully, but with any system, you can get it to lock up if you do all the wrong things....that's what training is supposed to be for.

Also, the way AF contracting works, we're still better off with what we've already spent the money on versus starting a whole other program.  I counted at least 3 AF people in my short time within the program, who felt they needed to make "important" changes to the system.  This was after the design was finalized.  Our job was to test the design....not change it...that was for the AMC testing.  These other people somehow coerced their will on the right people & cost us more time & money with each gripe they had.  So if you want to start another program & open it up to all the personal preferences of people who come & go every 2-3 years (active duty slam here), go ahead...I'm out.  And in the meantime, the H fleet gets grounded while a new contract gets worked out.

Speaking of AMC test....you had at least 3 of those peeps there at Edwards who were dead against AMP.....great staffing, no biased reports there!   I personally witnessed the AMC IOT&E Det chief at Edwards refuse to learn the AMP...so when her....um, their checkride came due, our tax dollars were used to send them TDY to fly a EC-130H instead.  Fantastic commitment to the program at hand!

I love the Garmin1000....fly it myself, but good luck with any AF SPO agreeing to that! 

Just my opinion...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The developmental test world is littered with the rotting carcasses of programs which have been touched by self proclaimed experts hoping to become a legend and forever remembered as the man/woman who..... Then they leave, move up, get out (D. all the above), the new expert/s arrives and things are either modded, go stagnent, or get cancelled. Like most things in the active duty you live and die by a 3 year window of criticality; the normal stateside duration of assignment.

Requirments drive testing. Requirements are firmly established long before testing is approved. Change costs money. Lots of money. There's never enough money to test it right the first time, but money can always be found when things go wrong and has to be re-tested.

Yes I've been doing this a long time.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please don't make the mistake that I don't think the Air Force has a huge portion of blame here, but this isn't about who shares more blame.  This is about getting the best system to the warfighter the quickest and cheapest way possible.  Military acquisitions long ago became a tool of the military industrial complex only muddied by idealists in uniform...

I've always said that the acquisition cycle is best described as: the military requests a galaxy, industry promises a solar system for IOC, and the military ends up accepting a planet with the promise of an extra moon in spiral development.  All over cost and late.

Yes, the military shoots themselves in the foot with changeover of personnel in key acquisitions programs.  Yes, the military fails to put the right people in the right places (and not just in acquisitions).  Yes, both sides view the others as necessary evils.  But I'm in industry now - I've seen the sausage being made - I know how "corrupt" the industry can be.  I witnessed industry BD guy tell industry supplier, "We now need to write the RFP for the customer, tell them what they want, and make it so it's sole source".  Makes good business sense to me, but as an operator, it makes my skin crawl...so don't pretend that all the onus is on changing military desires; it's a combination of poor compromises made by industry in the first place - whomever agreed to AMP version 1.0 was an idiot.  All of the change that was requested, not just by AFSOC, was to fix a poor agreed-upon design...I'm not saying the military didn't agree to it, simply that it didn't fit the bill.  Slick salesmanship, corrupt AF officials, standard marketing/BD hype - whatever - it doesn't matter. 

AMP did start working in the end - great.  How late?  How over budget?  Forget whose fault, set that aside because there's blame on both sides - where that blame starts/ends is largely irrelevant, but it colors our perspective.  From your perspective, the change was what caused the problem and that falls squarely on AF acquisitions shoulders.  From my perspective, the blame lies in the original contract, so the change the AF acquisitions guys pushed was a necessity caused by poor initial contracting.  Regardless of who is right (we both are), the end result is we still don't have a system on the plane and the operators are the ones suffering - Boeing still got paid.

The bottom line is, now AMP technology is another decade or two old.  Do we really want to bolt on obsolete technology that will have to be updated again soon, or should we just start over.  I vote start over...warts and all.  Your example of the J-model not being able to fly a GPS approach actually proves my point - the certification standard the J-model was built to is now 30 years old and now requires updating.  The HUD will be deemed obsolete and non-supported beginning in 2020 - even for planes rolling off the line in 2019.  Technology, once cemented into a contract, is immediately dated and has a limited shelf life - so too is the AMP technology and we're over a decade into it...and it was old when we started.  Let's move on.

Believe me, I know how passionate things get when you're personally involved in a project - I had many that never came to fruition, but would answer several capabilities gaps - sometimes though, the best answer is to move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My fear is that if things are delayed much longer, the H will not meet regulatory requirements and will certainly be it's end...an even greater example of waste.  A new program will not meet timeline requirements.  We have a viable airframe that has decades of life left, but the lack of a proper support structure would doom the 200+ acft fleet. 

I don't think we're in disagreement about the major issues, I just think we are too close to the edge of the cliff with the H.  I don't want to see it get tossed over, so it's my opinion that the AMP system is the best answer for us to keep the fleet.  The mere fact that it has an open architecture design, to me, alleviates concerns about future upgrade concerns.  Can anyone name a major program of record that has NOT gone over budget?  And if it wasn't for that bribery crap that went down, we'd all be griping about something else, huh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can think of a half-dozen companies off the top of my head that offer off-the-shelf avionics upgrade/modernization packages for virtually every model of legacy C-130 (B-H). They range in complexity from basic CNS/ATM updates to meet new regulatory requirements all the way to full glass cockpit/HUD/EFB/FMS/etc modernization. Many foreign operators have completed these updates on their aircraft. All of the engineering work has been done and there is plenty of competition to get it done at an affordable cost. Pick a flavor and get to work. You could even choose several providers/configurations to best suit each variant of C-130 and avoid awarding a huge contract to one prime. The technical aspect of this is easy compared to the politics involved, unfortunately.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the AF is finally observing public law and using the allocated funding for it's intended purpose.

The "new" AMP program will be implemented in two increments. The major items to be replaced in increment 1 will include new radios and transponder.  Increment 2 will include the glass panel displays, but for some unknown reason, retain the Navigator.

Congress is questioning the AF's timeline & is requiring a reevaluation. They basically think the AF won't get all the Hs done in time for the airspace requirements.

​Not really, they are not.

 

My bet is the primary operators of the legacy C-130 fleet will not get AMP, at least as it is defined by the current program of record.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's the proverbial dog chasing it's tail

In today's world you don't just slap in a few COTS pieces, crank-up, taxi out and let rip. One of the big selling points for the C-17 was it's use of COTS DC-10-type cockpit instruments, MDS, etc.Saves money right? All was well until approx. shipset 45 came down the line. When Boeing went to re-order additional COTS parts for the next 50 shipsets they found that the manufacturer no longer made for example version 1.0 of that particular component/system; they'd moved on to version 2.0. Commercial aircraft being built today aren't designed to be flown for 20, 30, or 40 years. They have a set, specific flight time life expectancy and it's short. Engineered obsolescence. The avionics going into those aircraft are built/sold the same way. Everybody knows that you can't make money cranking out MIL-SPEC. Sure the initial component cost is sky-high, but then the damn things last forever. 

Boeing had no choice but to purchase version 2.0. however, this voided the original testing and certification of the aircraft equipped with version 1.0. Therefore, a new flight test program had to be accomplished, with a considerable amount of tax payer money. And so it goes.

Back when we were testing the J-model over 10 years ago it cost $1 million to change a line of code. In modern aircraft everything connected becomes part of the "system" and systems are expensive.

The truth is that LM really hopes those Hs will wither and die, which will then allow them to sell more Js.          

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone heard anything recently? Last I heard there was an ambitious plan (some form of AMP light) that was gaining traction and moving through the wickets. Is this still in the works?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The latest we were briefed was that the program will be implemented in two parts...increments 1 & 2.  Increment 1 will replace the radios & get the airplane the ADS-B it needs.  Increment 2 will finish off the flight deck as the finished AMP.....we'll hope & see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are at least two things that move very very slowly in our country.  

The justice system is one and the other is AMP.  <_<

At ASD we began to have meetings concerning AMP in the mid 90s 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...