Taking place last October, the first flight of a modernized C-130H for the Israeli air force has shone the spotlight on the avionics upgrade capabilities of Elbit Systems, which is installing an advanced avionics suite across the Israeli Hercules fleet. The system includes a large head-up display that shows video imagery with flight and navigation symbology overlaid in 2D and 3D. This not only enhances tactical capability at night, but also significantly increases safety when landing in a degraded visual environment. Initial tests have also proved the system during inflight refueling.
Elbit (Hall 1 Stand A100) was contracted by the Israeli ministry of defense to perform the fleet-wide update in December 2012, with a new digital avionics architecture at its core. A subsequent contract in January 2014 added capabilities that allow the C-130 to meet international CNS/ATM (communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management) regulations.
In recent years, Elbit has also completed C-130 upgrade projects for South Korea, installing new avionics and a glass cockpit, and for Romania, which had a number of electronic warfare/protection systems installed. The Brazilian air force’s Embraer C-95 Bandeirante aircraft also received new Elbit avionics, fitted by AEL Sistemas, the company’s Brazilian subsidiary.
In the meantime, Elbit is involved in a collaborative agreement with Northrop Grumman to develop low-level terrain-following/terrain-avoidance capability for transport aircraft. The Elbit TF/TA head-up display shows terrain information from a digital database and is coupled with Northrop Grumman’s APG-241 terrain-following radar, which is the standard fit in the Lockheed Martin C-130J and Leonardo C-27J, and is an option for the Airbus C295. A demonstrator of the TF/TA system is expected to fly some time this year after installation in an “international customer’s” C-130.