The first flight of an Israeli air force Lockheed Martin C-130H equipped with a new avionics suite is expected to take place soon, according to a senior officer from the service.
"The new suite will make the cockpit very similar to operate to that of the C-130J we have recently put into service," says the officer, with work on the legacy transport almost complete.
Israel's C-130H avionics upgrade is being conducted by Elbit Systems at the air force's Nevatim base. The package of enhancements will allow the tactical transport aircraft to meet the stringent international Communications Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management standard for operations in commercial airspace.
Prior to the avionics upgrade being performed, the first C-130H involved underwent an extensive refurbishment at Israel Aerospace Industries' Bedek Group. This involved replacing the aircraft's centre wing box, and updating wiring documentation.
As part of a reorganisation, the Israeli air force has merged its two Hercules squadrons, with a joint unit now flying both the C-130H and new-generation J-model.