First two C-130H models undergo AMP package

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Two C-130H model aircraft at Robins are the first to undergo modification at Robins in the Avionics Modernization Program and are also the first two under Low Rate Initial Production contract. The first plane is currently in functional testing, while the second is about 85 percent complete through the program.

The AMP package, working in partnership with Boeing, will not only make the aircraft Global Air Traffic Management-compatible, but will upgrade its avionics and defensive system suite. Upgrades will be made to communications and DC power distribution systems, with complete navigation upgrades to its global positioning and instrument landing systems.

The new cockpit configuration, analog indicators and flight instruments on the main instrument panel have been removed and digitally modified, resembling a computer screen with six multi-functional displays for flight data.

"There is a tremendous amount of modification required to take the plane from where it was at to where we're going," said Randy Odell, C-130 AMP deputy flight chief with the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The work package is planned for approximately 23,000 labor hours and one year, though the aircraft currently in flight test status has been on station for about 15 months.

"It is understandable because what we are really trying to do at this phase is validate and verify that these kits are usable," Odell said.

During each phase of the process, changes were made to blueprints for structural modifications. Identifying issues and problems during this time allows for tech data to be updated for future aircraft. "It's a painful process and it slows everything down, but that is our primary mission for our first two aircraft - to fix all of our processes," he said. "We have to get all of this looked at before moving forward and going into the next phase of full-rate initial production."

Aircraft undergo several phases, including strip, structural modifications, wiring installation, connector termination, continuity and final Operational Acceptance Test Procedures testing.

"We have a lot of talented structural mechanics and electricians working on this," said Odell, referring to the crew of 28 men and women. "Considering the environment, they've worked through one of the hottest summers, and have still gotten the job done."

"Even the wiring numbering systems were different," he continued. "This has been a big learning curve for the crew. What AMP is doing is giving one configuration that will standardize the fleet."

The second AMP plane is scheduled to be powered up and begin test procedures in mid-January. Two additional C-130s are scheduled to arrive at Robins in fiscal 2012.