Elbit Systems Awarded Korean C-130H Upgrade Contract

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ROKAF C-130H on display at Seoul Airshow 2009. Photo: Ciaran Hickey
ROKAF C-130H on a low-level flight. Photo: Jon Wright

Elbit Systems announced it has been awarded a contract valued at US$62 million to upgrade the Korean Air Force C-130 transport aircraft. Under the four year contract, the C-130 aircraft will be installed with advanced electronic systems replacing part of the existing, mechanical-analog cockpit instrumentation. The modernized system will use electronic, digital multifunction displays in a “Glass-Cockpit” style, using Elbit Systems’ cutting-edge digital flight displays and integrated computers.

The Israeli company will deliver the project over four years, in cooperation with Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. (KAI), who is the leading local aircraft manufacturer in Korea.

The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) currently operates 12 C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, along with 20 Airbus Military C-235. In 2010 Korea has ordered four new C-130J from the USA, and is expecting to receive these aircraft by 2014.

ROKAF C-130H on display at Seoul Airshow 2009. Photo: Ciaran Hickey

These new ‘Super Hercules’ tactical transport planes will offer improved range, speed and increased payload capabilities with higher reliability over the existing H models. However, in avionic terms, the upgraded and new aircraft will have similar (though not common) features. With the upgraded C-130H and new C-130Js, ROKAF expects to maintain a fully modernized tactical transport fleet by 2016.

According to Yoram Shmuely, Co-General Manager of Elbit Systems’ Aerospace Division, the recent win marks a new milestone in company’s collaboration Korean Air Force and Korea Aerospace Industries. Shmuely said the experience the company have gained in performing previous C-130 upgrades in South Korea and Romania, as well as the upgrading of the Brazilian C-95 Brazilian C-95 transport aircraft, position it in a favorable position to win similar projects evolving with the growing demand for transport aircraft upgrades.