Work to upgrade the Israeli air force's Lockheed Martin C-130H transports will begin early next year, with a prototype aircraft to be prepared by L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace in Canada, which is conducting a similar programme on five Hercules for New Zealand. To include the installation of an advanced autopilot system, new radar, wiring and a replacement centre wingbox, the work will be performed on the remaining aircraft by Israel Aerospace Industries' Bedek Aviation group, according to Israel-based sources.

The Israeli air force currently operates 18 C-130E/Hs, with these having undergone fatigue testing over recent years with Lockheed's assistance. The service plans to phase out its E-model aircraft and sign an initial order for four new-generation C-130Js in April or May, although US Congress has yet to be nofifed of the potential foreign military sale.

Source: Flight International