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USAF C-130 upgrades

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posted on Oct, 12 2008 @ 12:41 AM
I found this tonight and find it rather interesting. The USAF is in the process of modifying LC-130s with the NP2000 8 bladed propeller. This is going to give them a performance increase that will allow them to stop using JATO pods when they are at the South Pole. The first C-130H to use them was a Wyoming Air National Guard C-130. Test flights took place in April. The first LC-130 modification was completed in September.

The NP2000 brings the same flight characteristics, but a significant performance increase. They found that they reduced external noise, cabin vibration, lower cabin noise, and lower fuel consumption.

The propeller pitch control was also replaced with an electric control that allows faster blade angle changes.

What I'd like to know is if the new propeller does so much for the H model, why spend all the money on the J model. They could do a cockpit upgrade on the H and convert it to a glass cockpit and have at least the same aircraft as the J model.

posted on Oct, 12 2008 @ 03:11 AM

The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology to reduce manpower requirements, lower operating and support costs, and provides life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models. Compared to older C-130s, the J model climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance. The C-130J-30 is a stretch version, adding 15 feet to fuselage, increasing usable space in the cargo compartment.

C-130J/J-30 major system improvements include: advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics; color multifunctional liquid crystal displays and head-up displays; state-of-the-art navigation systems with dual inertial navigation system and global positioning system; fully integrated defensive systems; low-power color radar; digital moving map display; new turboprop engines with six-bladed, all-composite propellers; digital auto pilot; improved fuel, environmental and ice-protection systems; and an enhanced cargo-handling system.

C-130 J

I believe it is a bit more than just the glass cockpit and enhanced engines. The 130 was horrible at deicing, underpowered at altitudes above 20,000 ft, and wasn't set up particularly well (instrument-wise) when attempting to diagnose in-flight problems.

posted on Oct, 12 2008 @ 11:03 AM
The C-130J does incorporate many other upgrades as well, but all of them can be incorporated into the C-130H, with the exception of the lower airframe operating costs. It would wind up being cheaper than buying whole new airframes, especially if it was done during PDM when they have the airframe totally stripped down.

One of the changes that they were looking at was changing the engine used with the new props. That would give it much more power at all altitudes. They were looking at two engines to switch to, one was PW, I don't remember the other one.

While the J model does provide advantages over the H, you'd have to be insane to think that it doesn't, the advantages could be reduced enough that it wouldn't make sense to spend all that money to replace the H models with the new airframe, if they upgraded it to a J standard.

posted on Oct, 12 2008 @ 07:48 PM
The USAF is looking at using either the AE2100S or the PW-150A engines with the NP2000 propellers.

Currently, they use the T56-A-15 engine on the C-130H models. That provides them with 4591 shaft horsepower per engine.

The AE2100S would provide them with 5100 shaft horsepower, compared to the PW-150A which would give them 5070 shaft horsepower.

Using those engines would give them +20% fuel consumption compared to the T-56, +10% usable shaft horsepower for the PW-150, -29% take off roll with T-56s, -50% noise levels inside and out.

Here are a couple of pictures with the new blades installed.

The pictures are of the Wyoming ANG aircraft. The LC-130 began flying in mid-September. It's scheduled to fly down to Antartica in November.

posted on Oct, 12 2008 @ 11:48 PM
I do agree with you that it would be more cost efficient...but the Pentagon hasn't always been that concerned with costs. I think that the military wants to keep the C-130 production line running, and engine and instrumentation only upgrades are not as lucrative as entire new aircraft.

posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 11:20 AM
Of course depends how the airframes are doing with fatigue. I know the RAF or having fatigue issues with there K models had to retire some and replacing wings on others.

posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 11:36 AM
They could do the same thing that they did with the E models when they went to the CFM56 engines. The older birds were kept E models, or retired, and the ones that could withstand the upgrade were made R models. Then they could buy J models to up the number of birds to where they were before.

posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 12:32 AM
Having flown a few H model 130's, I'll say this. Most of the "specialized" C-130's (i.e. Senior Scout, Compass Call, Spectres etc..) are old aircraft. In fact, the newest tail number I ever flew was a "74" tail number. That is a 30 year old aircraft...

I'm all for not only an upgrade, but new aircraft. It is more than just wing fatigue and instrumentation. Hydraulic packs on the elevators and rudder, wiring, even the galley on the plane are getting old. It is time to retire some of these old birds and move into the 21st century. Traditionally, airlift and tanker assets are "left behind" in the upgrades and acquisition arena. Its nice to see the J model coming out.

posted on Oct, 16 2008 @ 10:55 AM
Personally I feel that our first priority for replacement needs to be the -135 fleet. The -130s have some more years in them, but the YOUNGEST -135s were built in the 1960s. They need to stop screwing around with the contract and get new tankers flying and get them now.

posted on Oct, 17 2008 @ 01:57 AM
I agree with you 100% The KC-10 is a help... but there are too few of them, and they seem to suffer from more mechanical problems than my 8 track tape player.

posted on Feb, 25 2009 @ 06:01 AM
With the NP2000 prop system on the "legacy" C-130's they will have to watch their torque on takeoff's since the NP2000 system should/will allow make torque take-offs possible.

If they replace the T56 with a newer more powerful engine the limiting factor will still be the max torque on take-offs due to the center wing box torque limitations.

As far as upgrading the legacy H models to a mix of NP2000/C-130J mods it won't happen.

No money in it for Lockmart and the legacy H's will probably still require a flight engineer.

posted on Feb, 25 2009 @ 06:12 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

That is a C130 model I would love to see.

Unless you moved on to the KC-135 without telling anyone zap

posted on Feb, 25 2009 @ 08:11 PM
reply to post by waynos

Yeah, I was using the -135 example when they switched to the R model with the CFM engines as something they could do with the C-130s.

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