L3Harris Achieves First Flight With Modernized USAF C-130H Aircraft

L3Harris has completed the first flight and delivery of the US Air Force’s digitally-equipped C-130H Hercules aircraft.

The reworked plane received updates to its flight management systems, multifunctional displays, autopilot, terrain awareness, and warning systems.

The switch from an analog to a digital configuration is estimated to cost around $7 million per unit, with work for the transition proceeding at the company’s aircraft integration facility in Waco, Texas.

The switch to newer flight management systems is happening incrementally over the next five years, covering units in the US National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.

Upgrading the Hercules

The upgrades are part of the US Air Force Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 (AMP INC 2), an initiative to extend the C-130H’s operational effectiveness for better mission reliability, and reduced pilot workload.

L3Harris’ Waco facility general manager Sean Ling stated that the system update is the company’s cost-effective response to the force’s need for newer capabilities.

“It also symbolizes our commitment to safeguarding our nation and its people. With its advanced capabilities and unmatched performance and the L3Harris team behind it, the AMP [INC] 2 platform will ensure the safety of our skies for generations to come,” he added.

Decades-Long Service

The C-130 Hercules has been in service in the US since 1956, conducting civilian and humanitarian aid missions as the longest continuously-produced military aircraft in the country.

One recent upgrade included a $130-million deal with Raytheon to produce advanced propellers with new electronic control systems.

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