The first of two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft that are being refurbished and modernized for the Royal Netherlands Air Force has successfully made its first flight. Both aircraft are to be shortly delivered to the air force.
The Ministry of Defence acquired the two aircraft because of its intensive participation in peacekeeping missions. These aircraft will double the number of C-130s in Dutch service to four.
The first flight of the second refurbished aircraft will take place later this year from Marshall Aerospace, which is carrying out the refurbishment and upgrade program with Lockheed Martin, the original manufacturer.
The cockpit of the aircraft has been extensively modernized, and all of its analogue displays have been replaced by digital displays, with the latest technology. The modifications help to reduce the crew workload while improving situational awareness and safety.
Director Martin Broadhurst of Marshall Aerospace said : “This is one of the most complex tasks we have ever carrier out.”
Thanks to the modifications, the aircraft satisfy the current requirements in the field of maritime and electronic warfare. Modernisation was required since the previous owner, the US Navy, retired the aircraft in 1991.
After beginning dismantling in 2006, the aircraft were transported to the Marshall Aerospace factory in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Over the coming weeks, Dutch aircrew will gain experience on the aircraft during several test flights.
(Source: Marshall Aerospace)
Marshall Aerospace has teamed up with Derco Aerospace and the Royal Netherlands Air Force to recover two ex US Navy C-130 Hercules aircraft from storage in Tucson, Arizona.
They were transported to the Marshall Aerospace facility in Cambridge, UK, before entering service with the RNLAF. A convoy of huge lorries delivered the first C-130 through the outskirts of Cambridge to MA on the morning of Sunday 2nd April 2006.
Derco Aerospace was responsible for dismantling the two aircraft in the USA (with technical support from MA), delivering the aircraft to Cambridge, and supplying the spares needed by MA to repair and refurbish the aircraft. The second aircraft followed the same route as the first, and arrived at MA on the 23rd April.
Now housed at MA, the aircraft are undergoing extensive maintenance and modification work. The integrated modification package includes a CNS ATM compliant solution centred on the CMC Flight Management System integrated with INS, VOR, DME, ADF and GPS. This is complemented by a Rockwell Collins communications package that meets civil and military requirements comprising VHF, UHF, HF, Satcom, ACARS and an Intercom system.
To improve safety, the upgrade includes Weather Radar, Engine Instruments, Lightning Sensor, TCAS, EGPWS and ELT, whilst to aid situation awareness, the IS & S display system includes a moving map with information for the pilots.
This broad maintenance package, avionics upgrade and cabin safety improvements are also currently being designed for the existing Dutch fleet. Marshall Aerospace is responsible for the design and integration of the equipment together with installation and testing.
MA has signed a partnership agreement with Derco Aerospace for this programme for the supply of parts and overhauled components. Derco Aerospace has its team in place on site at the Cambridge facility in support of this activity.