The legendary C-130 Hercules airplanes have undergone a facelift: new radar and digital screens are just part of the improvements that will keep the heritage planes flying for at least another decade. The first improved plane took from Nevatim Airbase
The first improved C-130 ("Karnaf" Hebrew for Rhino) heavy transport airplane took off for the first time after a long process in which new and advanced systems were installed on it and its main wing was replaced, as part of an overall renewal project for the C-130 division. It is expected that within a few years the pilots of the "Knights of the Yellow Bird" squadron, which operates the C-130 for the past 30 years, will fly only with improved aircraft. The improved planes are expected to fly until 2040.
"We celebrate the completion of the process and the beginning of the meaningful period of integration", said Brig. Lihu Hacohen, the commander of Nevatim Airbase, during a ceremony celebrating the improved C-130 first sorties. "We are going out on a new road, with a new and better fighting aircraft. I am proud to see the plane taking off in the Negev desert".
"With the improved C-130 we can perform our missions in a better, simpler way", said Lt. Col. A, the commander of the "Knights of the Yellow Bird" squadron. "We get excellent aircraft with high operational capabilities".
Advanced Radar, Digital Screens and An Improved Wing
Not in vain said Colonel Ariel Manor, the Head of the Aircraft Engineering Department, that "The IAF is basically receiving a new aircraft". The improved planes will possess significantly upgraded operational capabilities, especially in the field of low altitude flight and flying in dark nights.
The improvement process is conducted in cooperation with "Elbit Systems" and "Israel Aerospace Industries" and includes the replacing of the main wing and installation of new digital screens. In addition, the plane will be equipped with advanced radar. "We reached a situation where all c-130s needed an overall repair", said Captain Dor, the leader of the integration in the transport training center. "The process gave us a whole new plane".
"At the end of the day we will have a strong squadron which flies highly advanced planes. We assume that the C-130 will fly until 2040 and even further", concluded Lt. Col. A.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Elbit Systems Ltd on Oct 13 issued the following statement:
“The Israel Air Force magazine posted on its website the roll-out ceremony of the first upgraded C-130, held at the end of last week at Nevatim Airbase, following Elbit Systems announcement, in December 2012, it was awarded a contract by the Israel Ministry of Defense to upgrade the Israeli Air Force's C-130 transport aircraft.”)