Lockheed Martin is to upgrade four ex-US Air Force C-130Bs for the Bangladesh air force. The first will be delivered in September, and the $15 million turnkey deal includes in-country support of the aircraft for at least the first two years of operations.

The C-130s are undergoing major overhaul at the USAF's Warner Robins Air Logistics Center and will then be delivered to Lockheed Martin Aircraft & Logistics Centers (LMALC) in Greenville, South Carolina, for the avionics upgrade.

The LMALC-designed upgrade includes liquid crystal display electronic flight instruments for pilot and co-pilot; commercial autopilot; flight management computer; inertial navigation/global positioning system; new air data computer; colour weather radar; new communication and navigation radios; traffic alert and collision avoidance system; and cockpit voice recorder.

The first upgraded C-130 will be delivered to Dhaka air base in September. Aircraft will be supported by a Lockheed Martin maintenance team with subcontractor Florida-based Certified providing spares and ground support equipment.

Meanwhile, the air force has declared operational eight (six single-seat and two twin-seat) RSK MiG-29 Fulcrums ordered in a $115 million deal in July last year. The aircraft are based at Dhaka.

Bangladesh needs the aircraft to replace ageing Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed fighters and Shenyang F-6s (a copy of the MiG-19). The country's Soviet era fighters were handed over as a gift in 1971.

Source: Flight International