The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] continues to log test milestones on its C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), including some significantly ahead of schedule.
Most recently, Boeing flew the first C-130 AMP aircraft Oct. 20 for the first time following a series of Code 2 engineering improvements. The work, completed by Boeing 12 days ahead of schedule, consisted of converting analog signals to digital signals and enhancing the aircraft's heads-up display capabilities.
"The improvements give the aircraft increased mission capabilities and allow the customer to expand the system, if needed," said Mike Harris, Boeing vice president and C-130 AMP program manager.
Boeing performed the work in San Antonio, Texas, and the aircraft has since returned to the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Boeing also flew the second C-130 AMP aircraft for the first time using its newly installed Core Complete 1 software. The successful flight took place Sept. 25 at the Air Force Flight Test Center. The software upgrade provides a fully functional Flight Management System (FMS) aboard the AMP aircraft, eliminating the need for the navigator position in the cockpit.
"This is a very exciting upgrade for the program and our customer because it offers the flight crew a variety of new options," said Harris. "For example, it computes airspeed, altitude, time of arrival and fuel at each waypoint in the flight plan. It also includes the initial military FMS functionality of airdrop, take off and landing data, which reduce the workload of the flight engineer."
Michael Leone, Boeing's C-130 AMP chief test pilot, said the software performed beyond his expectations during the flight.
"Core Complete 1 is a terrific follow-on to the remarkable first build," he said. "It offers some rich, new options, and truly improves the functionality of the cockpit."
Core Complete 1 is the second of three major software builds that are under way. The next phase, Core Complete 2.2, is scheduled for installation early next year.
The program will receive its next aircraft, a C-130 (H3) from the West Virginia Air National Guard, in November.
Boeing's C-130 AMP provides enhanced digital avionics that significantly increase situational awareness for the warfighter. The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing the AMP contract in June 2001. The upgrade commonality brought to the fleet of C-130 transport aircraft by the AMP also offers additional flexibility in assigning aircrew, regardless of the model design type.