C-130J Super Hercules
By Ryan Maass
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Air Force pilots recently completed a training flight with the first C-130J Super Hercules equipped with Block 8.1 upgrades.
With the upgrades, the pilots have access to enhanced GPS capabilities and improved communication systems. Friend-or-foe identification technology was also updated.
According to the Air Force, the enhancements will help make pilots more effective in performing their missions as well as improve interoperability with other aircraft.
"This update will truly allow us to have unhindered global access," Capt. Kyle Gauthier said in a press release. "It will also provide pilots improved situational awareness, and a greater ability to communicate with command and control around the world."
Air Force officials say they will continue testing the upgraded airlifter over the next two years, and will collaborate with contractor Lockheed Martin to report any potential problems.
"Flying with such a new system can be difficult, but it is exciting to know you're shaping the future of C-130J operations worldwide," Gauthier added.
The Lockheed Martin-built C-130J Super Hercules is a four-turboprop military airlifter that can be adapted for defense and humanitarian applications. According to Lockheed Martin, the plane can also be used for special operations, aerial refueling and close air support.
Original post: upi.com
C-130J with Block 8.1 upgrades
Capt. Kyle Gauthier, 61st AS C-130J pilot and flight commander, conducts a preflight checklist for a training sortie flight on February 3, 2017, at Little Rock AFB. During the flight, aircrews tested the operability of recent hardware and software upgrades. [USAF photo by SrA Harry Brexel]
The Block 8.1 upgrade enhances GPS capabilities, communications systems, updated friend-or-foe identification and allows the C-130J to comply with worldwide air traffic management regulations. Additionally, the upgrade program will standardize aviation systems to improve interoperability.
“This update will truly allow us to have unhindered global access,” said Capt. Kyle Gauthier, 61st Airlift Squadron C-130J instructor pilot and flight commander. “It will also provide pilots improved situational awareness, and a greater ability to communicate with command and control around the world.”
Over the next two years Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing and 314th Airlift Wing will team together to test the only two Block 8.1 upgraded C-130J’s in the world over.
“We have put thousands of maintenance hours into this plane since it arrived,” said Master Sgt. Brian Johnson, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent. “We’re excited to see it finally up in the air.”
Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing and 314th Airlift Wing will team together on the only two Block 8.1 upgraded C-130J’s in the world over the next two years at Little Rock AFB. Loadmaster, pilots and maintainers will work with Lockheed Martin to report any bugs or potential issues.
Gauthier said, “Flying with such a new system can be difficult, but it is exciting to know you’re shaping the future of C-130J operations worldwide.”
Capt. Carl Scott, 41st AS C-130J pilot and tactics officer, prepares a C-130J for its first flight using Block 8.1 upgrades on February 3, 2017, at Little Rock AFB. The Block 8.1 upgrade enhances GPS capabilities, communications systems, updated friend-or-foe identification and allows the C-130J to comply with worldwide air traffic management regulations. [USAF photo by SrA Harry Brexel]
The satellite communication system will support the air traffic management and data link component of the Block 8.1 upgrade program. Cobham is delivering the Level D certified AVIATOR 700D SATCOM product, which is prepared for FANS1/A+ operation and supports a combination of current Classic Inmarsat cockpit safety provisions as well as SwiftBroadband IP data and voice capability components for variety of mission applications.
"AVIATOR 700D offers the enhanced communications functionality required in this extensive upgrade program for the C-130J," said Andy Beers, director of Sales for the Americas. "The system functionality, reliability and certification fit the C-130J's future civilian airspace operational needs exceptionally well and Cobham is well positioned to be a reliable partner throughout the deployment of the upgrade program and the on-going use of AVIATOR 700D for the global C-130J fleet."
Updated Aug 16, 2018
C-130J Hercules: Details