Lockheed Martin C-130J operators in four countries have teamed up to define requirements for a Block 6.0 upgrade that focuses on enhancing survivability, network communications, logistics and all-weather flying.

Lockheed Martin says the discussions are being driven by the C-130J's operational experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and comes as the company works to incorporate the Block 5.4 "go-to-war" upgrade package.

"We're making that transition from cleaning up bugs and now we're putting new capability enhancements into 6.0," says Steve Traub, programme manager for co-operative systems and software upgrade requirements management (COSSURM).

COSSURM is a three-year, $20 million contract awarded to Lockheed Martin by C-130J operators in Australia, Italy, the UK and USA. The goal is to build a database of upgrade suggestions that will allow the four partners to collaborate on the design of an upgrade plan for Block 6.0 and beyond.

Possible upgrades include global air traffic management integration, infrared countermeasures, an inert gas generation system, Link 16 tactical datalink and improved logistics systems, says Lockheed Martin.

The KC-130J tanker is scheduled to enter operational service in January with the US Marine Corps, pending completion of operational testing with a replacement hose drum pod later this month.

Source: Flight International