Australia says that changes to the maintenance programme for its 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports have increased availability by 8%.

The improvements mean that the Royal Australian Air Force has an additional C-130J available at any given moment, says Air Vice Marshal Colin Thorne, head of the Defence Materiel Organisation's (DMO) aerospace systems division.

 RAAF C-130J - Commonwealth of Australia

Commonwealth of Australia

"Support contracts for the C-130J and other Australian military aircraft are increasingly being structured to encourage and assist collaboration with [the Department of Defence] and industry partners to deliver improvements of this type," says Thorne.

In 2011, Australian Aerospace - which provides through-life support for the type - reviewed reliability data pertaining to the C-130J fleet, which also took into account the experience of international C-130J operators.

The company followed this with a review of its maintenances tasks and sequencing. Subsequently, Canberra cleared Australian Aerospace to increase servicing intervals from 30 to 38 weeks, "which extends the full cycle of scheduled maintenance from 480 to 608 weeks," the DMO says.

Australia has operated the stretched-fuselage C-130J-30 since 1999. Its air force late last year retired its last examples of the older C-130H Hercules, which it had flown since 1978.

Source: Flight International