Marshall Aerospace flies C-130B super upgrade

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "Marshall Aerospace flies C-130B super upgrade", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 72 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Marshall Aerospace flies C-130B super upgrade

Marshall Aerospace flies C-130B super upgrade

Keywords: Marshall Aerospace, South Africa, Defence, Aircraft

Flight trials of the most comprehensive, technologically advanced C-130 Hercules upgrade commenced at the Marshall Aerospace Cambridge airport facility on 27 November 1999.

The first aircraft of a nine aircraft programme, with three aircraft to be completed at Cambridge and the remaining six at Denel's Johannesburg facility, are for the South African Air Force.

The programme upgrades existing systems and introduces new state-of-the-art navigation and communications systems. Great importance is placed on structural integrity giving the aircraft a minimum of 20 years' additional life. The contract placed with Marshall Aerospace also places great emphasis on through-life costs and aircraft reliability. The logistics support element is the cornerstone of the contract with an aircraft in-service availability level being guaranteed. Spares optimisation and procurement, together with training, technical publications, maintenance package changes and standardisation, are also addressed.

The core of the upgrade is the Sextant Avionique "Topdeck®" suite which comprises five large-format multi-function displays, Totem 3000 INS (as used on export versions of the Mirage 2000 aircraft) with embedded GPS, ADV and digital autopilot supported by a new Flight Management System. The new Flight Planning System pays particular attention to the various missions of the C-130, including airdrop scenarios with missions preplanned on the ground and loaded into the aircraft system prior to departure.

New radio and navigation aids, with a remote radio tuning unit, are also introduced with all equipment designed to meet current or future ATC regulatory requirements. The current flight trials programme is the culmination of a two-year design and test effort. Systems have all been integrated in the Marshall ground-test facility to check out all equipment prior to flight. This ground laboratory will also be used to troubleshoot any flight test defects and for future system developments.

A number of the older aircraft systems are also upgraded based on reliability and supportability analyses. They include new digital engine instruments and fuel quantity systems with up-to-date weather radar and radar altimeter equipment. To provide clean electrical supplies for the new equipment the basic aircraft electrical system is completely revamped incorporating new generators and Transformer Rectifier Units. In addition to these upgrades a comprehensive suite of Self-Protection Systems is introduced to guard against missile attack.

The first three aircraft are due for delivery to the South African Airforce by the end of 2000.

Marshall Aerospace, a specialist in C-130 modifications and support since 1966, is actively marketing similar upgrades to air forces world-wide. A variety of packages can be offered to meet user requirements and budgets. Marshall's ability to ensure continuing flight safety and airworthiness of ageing C-130s for many years, is of particular interest to countries with shrinking defence budgets striving to maintain capability of their airlift fleets. In today's environment of rapid reaction forces, with the requirement to move large numbers of men and equipment quickly, the C-130 still plays a vital role. Upgrades of older C-130s provide a cost-effective approach to satisfy many air forces' requirements.

Details available from Marshall of Cambridge Aerospace Limited. Tel: +44 (0) 1223 373263; Fax: +44 (0) 1223 373373.

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