L3 Gains Contract for Major Avionics Upgrade on 176 USAF ANG and AFRC C-130Hs

L3’s USAF C-130H avionics upgrade will also include the New York Air National Guard/109th Airlift Wing’s LC-130H ‘skibird’ aircraft used in Operation Deep Freeze to support the National Science Foundation’s US Antarctic Programme.  One of the unit’s aircraft is seen here returning to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, after an IcePod mission on November 7, 2017.  USAF/Master Sgt Catharine Schmidt

L-3 Communications Integrated Systems has received a $499,592,426 fixed-price-incentive-firm order for the major avionics upgrade of 176 US Air Force C-130H Hercules operated by the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve Command.  The contract was awarded on June 4 by the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

This deal provides for engineering and manufacturing development through to production.  It also includes training and logistics requirements.  Work will be performed predominantly in Waco, Texas, and is expected to be complete by September 30, 2029.  This award was the result of a competitive acquisition and six offers were received.  An initial $37,390,000 in fiscal year 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds was released at the time of award.

Commenting on the contract on June 6, parent company L3 Technologies said it covers C-130H Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 (AMP INC 2), under which L3 will design, produce and certify a state-of-the-art modernization solution for the fleet.  This will improve aircraft availability, reliability and sustainability while significantly reducing life-cycle costs.

The company says that its avionics and Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) upgrade solutions are fully certified for airworthiness and CNS/ATM compliance and are already flying today with US and international customers.  Christopher E Kubasik, L3’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, said: “We are focused on providing an agile and low-risk approach to modernizing the Air Force’s diverse fleet of C-130s, enabling these assets to operate well into the future.”

Modernization solutions will include integration of a commercial off-the-shelf avionics suite, as well as L3’s training integration and services.  Development, initial- and full-rate production will take place at L3’s facility in Waco, Texas, on multiple C-130H variants, including the C-130H1, C-130H2, C-130H2.5, C-130H3 and LC-130H.

Work on the first phase of the C-130H AMP, Increment 1, has been carried out by iAccess Technologies Inc of Santa, Ana, California.  The company announced on September 29, 2017, that it had been awarded a contract by US Air Force Materiel Command for AMP Increment 1, covering Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS–B) Out & Mode Select (S) Enhanced Surveillance (EHS).  This addressed current and near-term CNS/ATM mandates, along with limited safety upgrades, enabling the C-130H to safely and effectively operate in global air space.  Under the contract, iAccess designed, integrated and produced ADS–B Out & Mode S EHS kits for 172 USAF C-130H1/H2/H2.5/H3 and LC-130H aircraft, including options.  Work is now well advanced and the estimated installation completion date at the time of the award was given as December 31, 2019.