ST Aerospace last week redelivered its first C-130 modernization for an export customer. Turnaround time on the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) C-130H was only seven months, including a full depot overhaul. ST Aero previously modernized eight C-130s in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) fleet.
“The Oman modernization was a highly compressed program,” noted Loh Piang Khuen, director of the military business unit for ST Aero, during a briefing at the Singapore Airshow. Loh said the short turnaround time was made possible by the company’s long experience in C-130 overhauls; teamwork with supplier companies; and the presence of RAFO project engineers in Singapore during the work. Another two aircraft are scheduled for the upgrade.
Over the years, ST Aero has logged 570 visits by C-130s to its hangars. The company has done more than 1,200 T56 engine overhauls, and can overhaul 90 percent of components on the Hercules. Further, “We have more than 400 in-house design and analysis engineers for this sort of project,” Loh said.
The core of the modernization on both the RSAF and RAFO C-130s is the Rockwell Collins Flight2 integrated avionics suite. This multi-option digital system has also been sold in this region to Thailand, where 12 C-130Hs were modernized. The other partners with ST Aero on the RAFO aircraft are ADP, EuroAvionics, GE, L3 and Test and Training Flight Services.
There are six multifunction displays, and the cockpit lighting has been modified to permit pilots to wear night-vision goggles, Loh explained. The crew also have the advantage of a flight management system that automates such tasks as the calculation of airdrop release points, which was previously done manually. A cockpit working group was created to ensure that pilots’ opinions were considered; in the RAFO case, this resulted in a deviation from previous Flight2 installations, to house the HF radio controls above the main displays.