Royal Australian Air Force received its first upgraded C-130J Hercules


The first Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules to be upgraded to Block 8.1 standard arrived home at RAAF Base Richmond last month. Upgraded in the USA by Lockheed Martin with support from US Air Force , the remaining 11 aircraft will be modified in Australia by Airbus Australia Pacific.

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Royal Australian Air Force received its first upgraded C 130J Hercules 01 C-130J Hercules upgraded to Block 8.1(Picture source: Australian DoD)


The transition from C-130J Block 6.1 to Block 8.1 incorporates new hardware & software including safety improvements to the aircraft for aviators, including changes to the aircraft’s navigation systems, which will ensure greater accuracy during landing approaches.

The Block 8.1 upgrade boosts navigation and inter-communication systems, updates friend-or-foe identification and standardizes aviation systems, which will improve interoperability across the fleet. The modification also allows the C-130J to comply with worldwide air traffic management regulations.

Previously, the block 6 navigation system only allowed limited use of GPS area navigation, or RNAV, forcing the aircraft to primarily utilize legacy ground based systems for navigation. With the update, the pilots can now fully utilize RNAV arrivals, approaches, and departures, allowing for more direct paths outside the coverage of navigation beacons.


Royal Australian Air Force received its first upgraded C 130J Hercules 02 C-130J Hercules upgraded to Block 8.1(Picture source: Australian DoD)


The C-130J Hercules is a medium-sized tactical air-lifter which can deliver cargo to airfields with short unsurfaced runways, and airdrop cargo and paratroops by parachute and is an important air link for Australian Defence Force personnel overseas.

The C-130J fleet consists of 12 aircraft and one Level 5 simulator, based at RAAF Base Richmond and operated by No. 37 Squadron


Royal Australian Air Force received its first upgraded C 130J Hercules 03 C-130J Hercules upgraded to Block 8.1(Picture source: Australian DoD)


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