The Hercules C-130J .
(photo credit: COURTESY IAF)
A number of old Hercules transport planes are being upgraded by the Israel Air Force in order to modernize their avionic systems and adjust them to modern battle arenas.
The C-130H aircraft, made by US defense giant Lockheed Martin, came into service in Israel some 40 years ago and are reaching the end of their operational lifespan.
As a result, Lt.-Col. Y (whose full name cannot be published), a senior IAF officer, said that work has begun to extend their lifespan and modernize their electronic systems.
Lt.-Col. Y said the upgrade program has two focuses. The first is to replace the wing box connecting the wings to the airframe, work that will enable the aircraft to fly for decades longer than their original design.
Secondly, a number of onboard systems are being replaced, he continued, such as navigation and threat detection, and a new head-up display for the pilots is being installed.
Additionally, the officer said, old analog displays are being replaced with digital screens.
Lt.-Col. Y said Israel’s ability to modernize an aging aerial platform is “very significant and unique,” adding that it would save large sums that would have to go to purchasing new planes.
The IAF has also purchased a modern fleet of Super Hercules C-130J aircraft
, which will work in conjunction with the upgraded planes.
Two Super Hercules planes have so far landed at Nevatim Air Base, where the new fleet will be based.
According to the IAF, the new plane has a range of 4,000 km. and will be equipped with advanced computer systems for monitoring the plane’s routine operations and automatically detecting malfunctions.
The Super Hercules can lift 43 percent more weight than its predecessor – the equivalent of 28 more paratroopers in full gear, or one more armored military vehicle.