Boeing will upgrade cockpits for US Air Force C-130Hs and KC-10 tankers under separate deals announced on 24 June.
The USAF has cleared Boeing to launch low-rate initial production (LRIP) for the C-130 avionics modernization programme (AMP). Boeing will deliver five of 20 kits ordered by the USAF during the first lot of LRIP, with the balance produced by the Warner Robbins Air Logistics Centre and also by an unnamed competitor.
Boeing developed the AMP kit under a $1.4 billion development programme awarded in 2000 that endured cost overruns and schedule delays until a final restructuring in 2007.
Last year, the USAF attempted to terminate the programme, citing lack of funding. But the service relented under pressure from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Congress.
“I’m very confident that the air force will continue with the C-130 AMP,” says Mike Harris, Boeing vice president of C-130 AMP. “They never said they didn’t need it. They just didn’t have the money.”
The USAF decided in 2007 to qualify alternate sources to build and install about 198 AMP kits developed by Boeing under the original contract. Boeing’s goal is to reduce the price of AMP kit production from $14 million today to $7 million by the 69th aircraft, Harris says.
Meanwhile, Boeing also has received a $216 million contract to upgrade the 59-aircraft KC-10 fleet with a new communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) system.
The five-year contract will allow the fleet to operate in civil airspace after 2015, as new US FAA and ICAO standards take effect, Boeing says.