The Israeli Air Force is likely to upgrade its old Hercules transport planes in a bid to modernize their avionic systems suitable for modern warfare, The Jerusalem Post reported last Saturday.
The Hercules transport planes first came into service 40 years ago.
“Lockheed Martin’s C-130H aircraft are reaching the end of their operational lifespan. Work has begun to extend their lifespan and modernize their electronic systems,” the news daily quoted an unnamed Lt Col with the IAF as saying.
The officer further said that “the upgrade has two focuses, one to replace the wing box connecting the wings of the airframe which can enable the aircraft to fly for more decades longer than their original design. Secondly, a number of onboard systems are being replaced such as navigation and threat detection, and a new head-up display for the pilots is being installed”.
“Old analog displays are being replaced with digital screens. Israel’s ability to modernize an aging aerial platform is “very significant and unique,” adding that it would save large sums that would have to go to purchasing new planes,” he added.
The IAF so far has two of the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft (Shimshon) of the three ordered earlier. The upgraded aircrafts are expected to work in conjunction with the new aircraft.
The IAF has also purchased a modern fleet of Super Hercules C-130J aircraft, which will work in conjunction with the upgraded planes.
According to the IAF, the new plane has a range of 4,000 km. and will be equipped with advanced computer systems for monitoring the plane’s routine operations and automatically detecting malfunctions.
The Super Hercules can lift 43 percent more weight than its predecessor – the equivalent of 28 more paratroopers in full gear, or one more armored military vehicle.