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AMP canceled again?


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Bloomberg News

Boeing's C-130 Transport Upgrades Said to Be Ended by Pentagon - Jan 12, 2012,

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The Pentagon has canceled a 10-year- old program that has Boeing Co. upgrading C-130 Hercules transports with modern cockpit electronics, according to two government officials.

The move saves almost $4 billion, including $2.22 billion planned from

2013 to 2016, according to an Air Force program document. The Air Force recommended the program termination and Pentagon planners accepted, said one of the officials familiar with the decision, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it hasn’t been announced.

While Boeing is performing the initial upgrades, the Air Force had planned a competition for most of the work after the program was entangled in a procurement scandal in the mid-2000s. The Pentagon rejected a previous move by the Air Force to kill the program in 2009.

The C-130 has the highest profile among the few programs the Pentagon intends to cancel in its plan for 2013 to 2017, the officials said. The proposed budget will contain more truncations or delays, such as moving the purchase of 100 to 150 Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 jets beyond 2017, the last year of the coming five-year spending plan.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled January 26 to announce some of the budget details, according to a third defense official. The Budget Control Act directed the Pentagon to cut $261 billion through 2017 from its planned budget, including $46.8 billion in 2013.

Boeing has not been notified of any cancellation decision, Jennifer Hogan, a company spokeswoman, said in an e- mail. 'We continue to meet our C-130 customer commitments and continue to perform on the low-rate initial production contract.'

Tainted Win

The initial $4.1 billion C-130 Avionics Modernization Program contract was awarded to Boeing in 2001. Lockheed Martin Corp. challenged the win after Darleen Druyun, the Air Force's former No. 2 acquisition official, told federal prosecutors she improperly favored Boeing in the selection.

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and BAE Systems Plc also protested the award after Druyun's admission.

The Government Accountability Office recommended in 2005 that the service rebid a portion of the contract. The Air Force agreed in April

2005 to do so.

Druyun was sentenced to nine months in prison October 2004 for discussing a job at Boeing while negotiating a refueling- tanker contract, a conflict-of-interest violation. She also admitted to awarding the C-130 work to Boeing out of gratitude for the company employing her daughter and future son-in-law.

First 26 Aircraft

Boeing, based in Chicago, was allowed to update the first 26 of the 221 C-130s through 2015. It has received $177.2 million so far for upgrades of six aircraft, engineering and logistics support and spares and installations.

The first four fully upgraded aircraft have been delivered to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. An additional aircraft is to be delivered next month, according to Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy.

The remaining 195 aircraft upgrade kits were to be subject to competition starting in June 2013 with a full-rate production contract awarded in July 2014.

The upgrades outfit the aircraft with a common glass cockpit, integrated digital communications and navigation capabilities that meet Federal Aviation Administration and European air-traffic management and navigation mandates, Cassidy said.

The price for each upgrade kit has increased 16.3 percent to $15.4 million from $13.2 million, the Pentagon said in June 2010.

Cassidy said the Air Force won't discuss the program's budget status pending release of the fiscal 2013 budget. The Air Force has spent $1.69 billion on program research, according to a service program document.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The AMP kits themselves have been paid for?

If so, I wonder if it would be cost effective to install the AMP either locally during ISOs (maybe in pieces?) or at Depot. Or maybe at one specific location with military people doing the work.

With all the re-wiring that needs to be done, I would think it would take a few months to do the AMP, even with a parts kit. When the E models were getting modded with the sync rewire, it took about a month just for that, and that's not taking into account when the civilians would sign off on the wiring ops checks and we'd find problems on the first engine run due to some crossed pins. It might make more sense to do it at depot, but even the depot cycle is in a state of possible changes. They're talking about eliminating ISO and just going to depot every 18 months for a different area of the aircraft each time.

With the way they're retiring H's, I'm wondering if AMP is even worth it at all. It might be better to go all the way-J to have a smaller supply footprint and just sell the H's. Other countries already have glass-cockpit solutions they could mod with themselves, and we wouldn't have to worry about our H's not being able to fly through euro airspace. I just wish the U.S. C-130 world wasn't so complicated and uncertain. If we kept up on modernizing E's and H's like we intended to in the 80's and 90's, it might have been of questionable merit to convert to J's in the first place, and probably much cheaper to operate the fleet than with the mess of constant changes and uncertainty we've been putting up with over the past decade.

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From the rumblings I've been hearing, they still look to modernize the H-model fleet with new and affordable instrumentation, just not the AMP. Looks like AMP took so long to develop, it ballooned itself way beyond the scope of what it was originally intended to do. As long as we get rid of the crap analog engine indicators, I don't care what the flight deck ends up looking like. Not my problem.

Upgrading the prop to NP2000, now that I can agree would be awesome.

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As long as we get rid of the crap analog engine indicators, I don't care what the flight deck ends up looking like. Not my problem.

Upgrading the prop to NP2000, now that I can agree would be awesome.

Having flown with both analog and digital engine stacks, I can tell you it's all in the execution. The right digital engine stack would be nice, a poor one will be worse than the analog. Just converting to digital is not the answer - converting to digital needs to be an improvement, not just a conversion.

Agree - the new 8-bladed props and digital valve housings would be money well spent for the performance & maintenance gains. And please, please, please do this so AFSOC can get them - AFSOC can't afford to go it alone on the new props/synchros...

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The Herk AMP kinda overgrew itself out of proportion. Plus all the crap that went down during development. Now with budgets straining somethings gotta give. Remember the C-141 got their version of AMP(GPNS/SNS) and almost as soon as the whole fleet got modded they ended the whole C-141 program. Talking about wasting spending.

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From the Air Force Association: Blowing an AMP: In place of the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, which the Air Force seeks to terminate in its Fiscal 2013 budget request, the service is proposing a more affordable and less technically complex project to upgrade the communications and navigation gear on its legacy combat-delivery C-130s. The Optimize Legacy C-130 Communication, Navigation, Surveillance, Air Traffic Management program will outfit these H-model C-130s to comply with modern air space requirements, allowing them to fly at the most advantageous altitudes and direct routes for reduced fuel consumption, according to the Air Force's Fiscal 2013 budget overview. These upgrades will "meet the basic CNS/ATM requirements and resolve obsolescence issues for the legacy C-130 fleet," states the document. The Air Force projects that the proposed savings from these changes will to amount to some $300 million in Fiscal 2013 and $2.3 billion between Fiscal 2013 and Fiscal 2017, according to the Pentagon's Fiscal 2103 budget overview. Boeing has been the lead contractor for AMP, which has progressed into its low-rate initial production phase.

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