Continued airworthiness and maximised tactical capability

The C-130 Hercules was originally designed as a troop and cargo transportation aircraft in the 1950s and has since been adapted for a wide variety of roles, including weather reconnaissance, aerial refuelling and firefighting. It has a continuous production longer than any other military aircraft and remains a popular platform with air forces all over the world. However, many C-130s in operation today are several decades old, having amassed thousands of flying hours, which means keeping them relevant and airworthy poses an increasing challenge to operators.

Enhancing and extending legacy aircraft

To ensure the continued airworthiness and to maximise the tactical capability of the long serving platform, it is necessary to carry out frequent upgrades to ensure compliance with emerging aerospace regulations.

This was precisely the situation facing the RNLAF fleet of C-130H aircraft, the oldest of which was registered in 1978.

Restoration work at Marshall

Excellence in engineering

The modifications to the RNLAF C-130s consisted of a Cockpit Upgrade Programme (CUP) and Cabin Safety Improvement Programme (CSIMP).

Prior to the upgrade, the C-130H cockpit consisted almost entirely of analogue instruments. As part of CUP, the analogue dials were replaced with digital displays to create a “glass cockpit” environment. The new digital displays ease pilot workload which increased situational awareness, making the aircraft safer to fly.

The installation of a Communications, Navigation and Surveillance system for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) was also required to enable the RNLAF’s aircraft to fly through civil airspace. The system is based on CMC Electronics’ Flight Management System (FMS) integrated with an Inertia Reference System (IRS), VHF Omni-range Radio (VOR), Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) and Global Positioning System (GPS). A traffic Collision Alert System (TCAS) and an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) were also installed as part of the upgrade, and the cockpits were made night vision capable.

Prior to the CSIMP upgrade the aircraft had been found non-compliant with some of the civil Occupant Safety regulations, therefore the RNLAF deemed that certain Cabin Safety Improvements were necessary in order to meet a subset of these JAA Occupant Safety regulations. They had also identified several operational and comfort modifications in the cargo area. With these findings, CSIMP programme was launched. The programme is split into two parts; Safety Enhancements and Operational Enhancements.

The CUP and CSIMP programme are critical to ensure the continuing availability of the aircraft.

Increasing situational awareness and mission effectiveness

Celebrating over 20 years of partnership

The recovery and upgrade of the two C-130s for the RNLAF was one of the most extensive and complex engineering projects undertaken by us. We have been collaborating with the Royal Netherlands Air Force for more than 20 years, providing engineering guidance and support as well as maintenance services.

Major General Sotthewes, Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, commented:

“Throughout the years we have transformed the relationship into one of cooperating and partnering. The Royal Netherlands Air Force provides the operational input, while Marshall delivers the engineering solutions. ‘A proven and rock solid combination’. If technical problems arise, Marshall is immediately around to support the Royal Netherlands Air Force. This focus on the customer’s true needs really distinguishes Marshall in the aerospace industry.”

Celebrating 20 years of supporting the Royal Netherlands Air Force C-130 fleet

Left Rupert Dix, Strategy and Sales Director Right Major General Sotthewes, Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force


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