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India's 1st C-130J Super Hercules set for delivery

Last updated on: December 10, 2010 12:40 IST

India's 1st C-130J Super Hercules set for delivery

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Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC

The Indian Air Force will next week in a ceremony in Marietta, Georgia, formally take delivery of the first of six C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

Senior Indian and US government officials, as well as Indian air Force and US Air Force personnel will be on hand for the ceremony on December 16, where the Hercules C-130J-30, the most advanced airlifter ever built, will be handed over a month in advance of the delivery schedule.

This will enable India's first US-built military aircraft to make its public debut at the Aero India Air Show in Bengaluru in February 2011.

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Photographs: Courtesy Lockheed
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India-unique operational equipment

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This aircraft as well as the two others, which have already been assembled, will be based at the Hindon Air Base. After the second and the third, which are in pre-delivery testing at Lockheed's Marietta site are given the green light, it will be handed over to the US Air Force late this month and sometime in late February flown to India.

According to Lockheed, the package includes six aircraft, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spares, ground support and test equipment, servicing carts, forklifts, loading vehicles, cargo pallets, and a team of technical specialists who will be based in India during a three year initial support period.

Also included in the package is India-unique operational equipment designed to increase Special Operations capabilities. In addition, the C-130J Super Hercules will provide the IAF with modern and effective airlift to support a wide range of national requirements.

In keeping with IAF requirements, the US government has offered a unique C-130J configuration modified for special mission roles. 



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Longer fuselage, Infrared Detection Set ...

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Equipped with an Infrared Detection Set (IDS), the aircraft will be able to perform precision low-level flying, airdrops, and landing in blackout conditions.  

Self-protection systems and other features are included to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environments. The company said it will integrate this equipment and other capabilities into the Indian configuration as agreed between the governments.

The IAF's new Super Hercules will be the longer fuselage or "stretched" variant of the C‑130J, similar to those being delivered to the US Air Force, and with this delivery, India will join the growing number of nations with C-130J fleets besides the United States, includes Australia, Canada, Demark, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom.

According to the specifications provided by Lockheed, "When compared with the standard model, the -30 carries eight 463L pallets rather than six, 97 medical litters instead of 74, and 24 CDS bundles instead of 16.

Most important, the -30 carries 128 combat troops instead of 92 for the standard model, and 92 paratroops instead of 64."




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Enhanced performance, fuel efficient, reliable

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"And, while the exterior looks very much like previous C-130s, the C-130J-30 mission and propulsion systems have been completely redesigned. Primary features of the C-130J-30 include a new digital avionics architecture and propulsion system, twin head-up pilot displays that are certified as primary flight instruments, and dual mission computers that automate many functions, allowing the aircraft to be operated by only two pilots and a loadmaster."

The company said, consequently, "The net effect of these improvements is enhanced performance of the aircraft, and greater reliability of the systems and components. For instance, when compared with C‑130E models, the C-130J-30 can provide 40 per cent greater range, a 40 per cent higher cruising ceiling, a 50 per cent decrease in time-to-climb, a 21 per cent increase in maximum speed, and a 41 per cent decrease in maximum effort takeoff run."

It said, a key to the C-130J-30's increased performance is the new propulsion systems --four Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 engines, each flat rated at 4,591 shaft horsepower -- generate 29 per cent more thrust while being 15 per cent more fuel efficient.



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Tech-loaded

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The heart of the new Hercules advanced technology is its modern flight station with multi-function, liquid crystal displays (LCD) for aircraft flight control, operating and navigation systems.

In addition to four displays on the instrument panel, pilots use a holographic head-up displays, approved as primary flight instruments, a precedent among military transports.

The displays are all compatible with night vision imaging systems, enabling the crew to operate the aircraft in areas where special missions dictate blackout conditions.

The dual mission computers manage and automate many of the functions formerly performed by the flight engineer and navigator.

Aircraft systems are constantly monitored and crews are advised of status or malfunction as required.



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C-130J-30 takes full advantage of GPS

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Some of the new systems of the aircraft that are managed by the mission computers include the full authority digital engine controls, the advisory caution and warning system, automatic thrust control, computerised maintenance recording, the electronic circuit breaker system, the enhanced stall warning system, the advanced digital map, and a state-of-the-art communication/navigation suite.

The C-130J-30 takes full advantage of the Global Positioning System and other highly reliable, automated navigation and route planning aides.

This allows the cockpit crew to focus on the mission and on flying rather than on managing aircraft systems.



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