Israel Aerospace Industries' Bedek Aviation Group has completed centre wing box (CWB) replacement and rewiring on an Israeli air force Lockheed Martin C-130 transport. The company has also received an order to perform the same work on four additional aircraft.
Israeli air force
The IAI unit offers C-130 operators comprehensive service-life extension programmes, including CWB replacement, cockpit upgrades, rewiring and quick conversion to special-mission configurations.
The C-130 is cleared for 45,000 flight hours but, in order to reach that limit, the aircraft must go through a service-life extension programme. Rapid ageing of the aircraft results from their exhaustive flight profile. IAI says only a handful of maintenance, repair and overhaul centres are qualified to perform service-life extension programmes.
Israel's air force currently operates 18 C-130E/H transports. In recent years, the entire fleet has undergone fatigue tests with the assistance of Lockheed. Its E-model Hercules are due to be phased out, with the service due to receive its first new-generation C-130J "Samson" airlifters to be delivered in late 2013 or early 2014.
A first contract signed in 2010 covers three C-130Js, but the air force has asked for a formal proposal for three additional aircraft. The cockpits of Israel's C-130Js will have three seats, a similar configuration to that used by US special forces. The aircraft will also be modified for the future installation of some Israeli systems.