Almost Ready to Go

If the Air Force is compelled to carry out the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, the research and development work is largely done, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Program Lt. Gen. James Holmes said Thursday. In an interview with Air Force Magazine, Holmes explained that the AMP would need a “tech refresh,” however, because of vanishing vendors. Some of the displays, for example, are no longer manufactured, “so we’d have to ask the contractor to go back and … select another display from those that are available.” But, as for the whole AMP, “we know what it will cost.” The price of doing the AMP is starting to become comparable to that predicted for a lesser mod, called the Viability and Airspace Access Program, or VAAP, which would make the Hercs compliant with international airspace regulations. If USAF can cut the overall fleet of C-130s down to 300—Holmes admitted there is “pushback” on that plan from Congress—the number of aircraft requiring AMP, and those needing VAAP, begin to converge, especially if more of the fleet is new C-130Js. “As the fleet gets smaller, the cost of AMP goes down,” he said. VAAP is not yet defined though, he cautioned. “We’re not as confident about what it will cost” and the cost will rise as the fleet gets smaller due to amortization over fewer airframes, he explained. About 172 C-130Hs will need AMP or VAAP; C-130Js have a parallel airspace compliance program.