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  1. Very Cool. All indications are that the C-130 will be around for many years to come. Maybe he will fly or maintain one in the future.
  2. Lockheed Martin Delivers First HC-130J Combat King II to New York Air National Guard
  3. A C-130H Hercules assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo., lands on a dirt runway after performing an airdrop during exercise Sentry Storm 19, July 23, 2019, at Camp Branch Drop Zone, Logan County, W.Va. Sentry Storm is a West Virginia National Guard-led joint exercise involving 15 separate military and civilian organizations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. De-Juan Haley)
  4. New Delhi: The Indian Air Force has found that one of the chief reasons why a brand new C-130 J Super Hercules aircraft crashed in 2014 and killed five crew members, including the pilots, was “inadequate training”, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament Wednesday. What’s shocking about this finding is that a simulator for this aircraft had been available since 2012, but was used for training only in 2016 because the IAF and manufacturer Lockheed Martin could not finalise a usage contract. Less than 10 minutes after the aircraft took off from Agra on 28 March 2014, it crashed 115 km west of Gwalior while on a routine training mission. Two wing commanders, two squadron leaders and another crew member were killed in the crash. The C-130J aircraft The Indian Air Force had first bought six C-130 J aircraft, meant for special operations, through the Foreign Military Sales (government-to-government) route in 2008 for $962.45 million. The IAF later went in for procurement of six additional aircraft through the same route. The aircraft is meant for special mission roles, and is fitted with an infrared detection set, enabling precision low-level flying. The aircraft can land on unpaved surfaces and requires a very short take-off and landing space. It has proved to be a huge asset for the Indian military. Simulator not used for 3.5 years The CAG noted that one C-130J-30 aircraft procured under initial contract met with a “CAT-I fatal flying accident” in March 2014. “Investigation concluded inadequate experience and training of the crew as one of reasons for the aircraft and recommended operationalization of Simulator for C-130 J30 at the earliest as one of the remedial measure (sic),” the report stated. The audit observed that the simulator was provided by the vendor, Lockheed Martin, “against contract of January 2009, on a user rate payment basis”. It noted that despite the installation of the simulator in December 2012, training could not be imparted for more than three-and-a-half years to pilots (December 2012 to November 2016) due to non-finalisation of usage contract. “The simulator was installed but could not be put to use due to non-finalisation of usage rate contract by IAF. Usage rate contract was signed (August 2016) and training on simulator actually commenced in November 2016,” the report said. The defence ministry accepted the delay in commissioning of training simulator, though it stated that inadequate training was not the primary reason for the accident. “However, (the) audit noted that the IAF investigation report had pointed out inadequate training as one of the reasons for the accident,” the report stated. View Original Article: https://theprint.in/defence/cag-report-blames-inadequate-training-for-2014-super-hercules-crash-that-killed-5/192940/
  5. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has begun work on the centre-wing box (CWB) replacement effort for 14 UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Lockheed Martin C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft, which should be complete in 2027. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Jane's on 15 February that having awarded Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group the CWB contract in July 2017, a further "embodiment" contract to supply the CWB kits was awarded in 2018, paving the way for the commencement of work on the 14 aircraft. The RAF fields both the 'short-bodied' C-130J (designated C5 in RAF service) and 'long-bodied' C-130J-30 (C4) variants of the Hercules. As stated in the country's 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the RAF at that time planned to divest its 10 C-130Js while retaining its 14 C-130J-30s. However, in June 2018 Jane's reported that one of these C-130J-30s was abandoned in Iraq following heavy landing, leaving just 13 in the inventory. On 9 August 2018 an MoD spokesperson told Jane's that it is still the intention to field 14 Hercules, and while this would necessitate the retention of one C-130J the spokesperson noted that the exact composition of the fleet has yet to be determined. Despite the MoD declining to specify the planned composition of its Hercules fleet, a US Air Force solicitation for a CWB replacement effort for one C-130J and 13 C-130J-30 aircraft released at the same time as the MoD's comments to Jane's has been identified as being for the UK. View Original Article: https://www.janes.com/article/86426/uk-hercules-centre-wing-box-replacement-effort-gets-under-way-for-completion-in-2027
  6. A range of upgrades and modifications have been fitted under Plan Jericho to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J Hercules A97-448, providing the RAAF’s Air Mobility Group with a ‘Jericho Demonstrator’ to explore how it will provide air mobility as part of a Fifth-Generation Air Force. Upgrades include the installation of a Ka-Band Satellite Communications (SATCOM) antenna, external fuel tanks (taking total fuel capacity from 19 to 27 tons) to increase range/loiter and fuel offload; and other advancements to crew awareness and survivability. Air Mobility Group will use the Jericho Demonstrator in support of other Defence and Government agencies to determine how to increase the utility of its Hercules fleet in the future. In addition the RAAF is evaluating adding Litening AT pods to its C-130Js as well. According to an article by Andrew McLaughlin published on February 6, 2019 in Australian Defence Business Review: The RAAF is reportedly looking to integrate the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-28 Litening AT targeting and EO/IR pod with its fleet of 12 C-130J Hercules airlifters. With the retirement of the F/A-18A/B classic Hornet by 2022, the RAAF will have about 40 Litening AT pods in its inventory. The pods were acquired for the classic Hornet fleet in 2008 under the Project AIR 5376 Phase 2.4 element of the Hornet Upgrade Program (HUG) to replace the AN/AAS-38 NITEHawk pod…. The addition of an EO/IR pod such as the Litening AT would enhance the C-130J’s ability to provide ISR overwatch for forces on the ground, to ensure a designated landing or extraction zone is clear of threats, to geolocate targets of interest or precision airdrop locations, or to even provide fires support to off-board shooters. For peacetime missions, a high-performance EO/IR pod could provide accurate imagery and data to support the HADR or search and rescue roles….. View original Article and additional Images: https://sldinfo.com/2019/02/an-update-on-the-australian-c-130j-plan-jericho-and-related-developments/
  7. I have been able to recover and restore the VA Benefits discussion forum. The post counts are a bit off but I think it is all there. http://www.c-130hercules.net/index.php?/forums/forum/66-va-benefits/
  8. CEDAR RAPIDS (Feb. 27, 2019) - The Portuguese Air Force joins a growing list of customers that have selected Collins Aerospace for its C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft modernization effort. Serving as a contractor to OGMA – Industria Aeronautica de Portugal, Collins will provide its Flight2™ aftermarket avionics solution, which delivers the most cost-effective and lowest-risk CNS/ATM upgrade solution. “The Portuguese Air Force uses C-130s for a broad range of missions, including personnel and cargo transport, and even firefighting,” said Dave Schreck, vice president, Military Avionics & Helicopters for Collins Aerospace. “Modernizing to the Flight2 system provides their Air Force with the latest generation of avionics aimed at optimizing their operations while making the most of their budget and minimizing aircraft downtime.” Flight2 transforms a federated analog system into a modern digital glass cockpit that provides commonality to commercial aircraft. Included in the avionics upgrade is a full glass cockpit with new primary flight displays, Required Navigation Performance/Area Navigation flight management system with high altitude release point, and computed air release point precision airdrop software. As part of the upgrade, Collins will leverage its Flight2 Mobility Mission Application (MMA) architecture, which allows customers to select from a super set of off-the-shelf capabilities. Customers using the MMA architecture can tailor the system to meet specific mission requirements, comply with regional communications navigation surveillance/air traffic management mandates, or simply to maximize capabilities for a given budget. By upgrading to Flight2, the Portuguese Air Force’s C-130H will be in in compliance with the most recent International Civil Aviation Organization standards, while also equipping it with a tactical advantage in military operations. Source: http://www.utc.com/News/CAS/Pages/Portuguese-Air-Force-picks-Collins-Aerospace-for-C-130H-Hercules-aircraft-moderni.aspx
  9. Spirit 03 is a revered name in the AFSOC community, often spoken of in hushed and pained tones. It was the call sign of the last AC-130 gunship shot down in combat. The story of Spirit 03, whilst sad, was also one of heroism — the kind you'd find in the US Air Force Special Operations Command community. It was a story of American airmen putting the lives of their brothers in arms engaged in grueling ground combat above their own. On January 29, 1991, over 2000 Iraqi troops under the direction of Saddam Hussein streamed into the Saudi Arabian city of Khafji in an attempt to draw American, British, and Saudi forces into a costly urban battle which would tie up Coalition troops until the Iraqi military had time to reorganize and get themselves back in the fight. Just days before Khafji fell, American surveillance jets had detected large columns of mechanized Iraqi units pouring through Kuwait's border in a mad dash towards the city. Though the warning was passed on, Coalition commanders were far more focused on the aerial campaign, which had seen the virtual annihilation of the Iraqi Air Force. Thus, Khafji fell... but it wouldn't be long until Saudi forces scrambled to action, barreling towards their seized city to drive the occupiers out. American and British aerial units were soon called into the fight, and in record time, engines were turning and burning at airbases within reach of Khafji while ground crew rushed around arming jets for the impending fight. Among the aerial order of battle was a group of US Air Force AC-130H Spectre gunships — converted C-130 tactical transport aircraft that were armed to the teeth with a pair of 20 mm M61Vulcan rotary cannons, an L60 Bofors 40 mm cannon, and a 105 mm M102 howitzer. These Spectres, based out of Florida, were eager to be turned loose, planning on adding any Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles they caught around Khafji to their kill tallies. On the 29th, Iraqi mechanized units moved towards the city under the cover of night, repeatedly engaging Saudi elements set up to screen inbound enemy ground forces coming in from Kuwait. The Spectres were already in the air, racing towards the fight and running through checklists in preparation for the destruction they were about to dish out on Saddam's armored column. Within minutes of appearing on station, the AC-130s leapt into action, tearing into the Iraqi column with impunity. What the enemy forces had failed to realize was that Spectres — living up to their name — operated exclusively at night so that they were harder to visually identify and track, and the gunners aboard these aircraft were incredibly comfortable with that. Spectres began flying race track patterns in the sky, banking their left wing tip towards the ground as their cannons opened up. Despite the AC-130s inflicting casualty after casualty, the resilient Iraqi invasion force continued to advance to Khafji and managed to briefly take over and lay claim to the city. American and Saudi ground combat units, including Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, and Marine artillery and infantry elements responded in kind, and launched a blistering offensive against the Iraqis as night turned to day and the AC-130s returned to base to rearm, refuel and wait for nightfall to resume hunting. On January 30th, Spirit 03, one of the AC-130s, was loaded for bear and launched with the intent of providing Marine forces with heavy-duty close air support. Spirit 03 arrived on station and started hacking away at targets. In the hours around dawn on the 31st, the AC-130s were recalled to base when radios lit up with numerous calls for fire support from the beleaguered Marines on the ground. An Iraqi rocket battery needed to be dealt with quickly. The crew of Spirit 03 took charge of the situation immediately, judging that they had enough fuel and ammunition left for a few more passes. Not quite out of the combat zone, the aircraft turned around and pointed its nose towards its new target. It was then that all hell broke loose. A lone shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missile arced towards the AC-130, detonated and brought down the aircraft. There were no survivors. In the months and years that followed, the loss of Spirit 03 was investigated and then quickly hushed up. Some indicated that the official report blamed the crew for knowingly putting themselves in danger by continuing to fly in daylight, allowing themselves to be targeted. Others knew that the story was vastly different—that the 14 men aboard the AC-130 knew that they were the only ones in the area able to provide the kind of fire support the Marines needed, and so paid the ultimate sacrifice while trying to aid their brothers in arms. Source: https://www.wearethemighty.com/history/last-ac-130-lost-combat?rebelltitem=4#rebelltitem4
  10. OGMA has been announced the prime Contractor in the Avionics Modification Program involving four Portuguese Air Force (PoAF) C-130 aircraft, which will consist of a nearly full replacement of the aircraft communication, navigation and flight control systems and instruments. Such modification will upgrade POAF C-130 aircraft to the latest CNS/ATM requirements (communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management). This program will be developed over two years, with the first aircraft starting modification work in 2019. OGMA will carry out the integration of all aircraft systems, manufacture the structural components and wire harnesses necessary for equipment installation, design the aircraft change and provide for project certification against the National Military Aviation Authority requirements and for project qualification according to POAF operational and logistic requirements. OGMA will also be responsible for updating the aircraft operating and maintenance technical data, providing operational training to flight crews and maintenance training to PoAF technicians. Source: https://www.avitrader.com/2019/02/25/ogma-to-modify-portuguese-air-force-c-130-aircraft/
  11. MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia is undertaking a series of upgrades to the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules airlifter, improving connectivity, fuel payload and surveillance capabilities with the addition of new equipment. Working together with industry, the Royal Australian Air Force, or RAAF, has installed a wideband satellite communications system and is planning on fitting Litening pods onto one of its C-130J used as a capability demonstrator aircraft. RAAF is fitting external fuel tanks on its C-130J fleet. Group Capt. Tony Bull, director of capability development and transition at the RAAF’s Air Mobility Group, told Defense News at the ongoing Avalon Airshow that these modifications are part of the RAAF’s Plan Jericho umbrella, which seeks to transform the service into an integrated and networked 5th-generation Air Force. The SATCOM suite features Honeywell’s JetWave Ka-band satellite communications hardware and Inmarsat’s Global Xpress satellite network. Since it was fitted onto the Jerich Demonstator C-130J in 2017, the suite has successfully demonstrated its ability to use a number of secure military applications that previous technology couldn’t enable due to bandwidth restrictions, including live video streaming and encrypted file transfer. According to Bull, the SATCOM system allows personnel on board to be linked with command elements and forces elsewhere, improving their situational awareness even while in transit and allowing missions to be replanned, to assess the battlefield environment. He said that the SATCOM trials have now proven the concept, and the program has since transitioned into a RAAF minor project with the intention being to eventually fit all of the RAAF’s 12 C-130Js with the SATCOM capability. This SATCOM capability has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. Air Force, with personnel from Yokota Airbase in Japan, who also operate the C-130J, saying they were impressed by the capability when they encountered it during their interactions with the RAAF. Bull also added that the plan to fit the Rafael/Northrop-Grumman AN/AAQ-28 Litening pod to the C-130J demonstrator, which was revealed recently, will allow the C-130J to conduct surveillance of a target area. He gave the example of its potential use during disaster relief operation, with the pod being able to provide vision of a target area. Forces could then assess needs from either on board the aircraft, or use the SATCOM to stream video to a command or headquarters element elsewhere, and make decisions based on the situational awareness provided. These capability improvements are meant to enhance the C-130J’s primary role as an airlifter, however, and the RAAF has no intention to expand the C-130J’s missions into that of a surveillance aircraft, for example. Australia has a number of surplus Litening pods as it starts the withdrawal of its F/A-18A/B Hornet multirole fighters over the next few years. The pods were acquired by Australia in 2008 as part of its program to upgrade its fleet of Hornets. Bull also touched on the installation of external fuel tanks onto the C-130Js, with five sets of external fuel tanks now available for use on the C-130Js. In addition to extending the range of the airlifters, the tanks could also be utilized during the forward arming and refuelling point or FARP operations to offload fuel without having to sacrifice the C-130J’s own internal fuel capacity or carry it in its main cabin. This frees up space in the aircraft to carry other cargo. These modifications to the RAAF’s C-130Js are being conducted in conjunction with Airbus, which is also responsible for providing through life support for Australia’s C-130J fleet. The company, which has supported the fleet since 2009, signed a rolling contract in late 2018 to continue the work for an additional six years through to 2024. Source: https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/avalon/2019/02/26/australias-c-130j-super-hercules-airlifters-to-get-satcom-upgrade/
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