Norway’s fleet enhanced: Block 8.1 C-130J-30 Super Hercules arrives

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Lockheed Martin, the American aerospace company, has introduced the first upgraded Super Hercules aircraft under the Block 8.1 upgrade program to the Air Force. This information comes from their recent press release. The upgrade includes both software and hardware adjustments, resulting in enhanced global reach, improved navigation, and additional defensive capabilities, as reported by Lockheed Martin. The aircraft that underwent this refurbishment belongs to the Norwegian 335 Squadron and were transported to the Lockheed Martin HQ in Greenville, South Carolina, USA for the overhaul. 

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Danya Trent, the Vice President of International Programs for the Air Mobility and Maritime Mission Line at Lockheed Martin, emphasized in the press release that the Norwegian C-130J-30 fleet plays a significant role for the country and has a wide regional impact. It’s an integral player in essential missions with NATO, the EU, and other Super Hercules ally nations. 

The Block 8.1 upgrade has now become the standard for Super Hercules planes. It has already been acquired by the US Air Force, Marine Corps, and US Coast Guard, alongside other countries such as Australia, France, Germany, and New Zealand, with more countries expected to follow in the future. 

Maintaining the Norwegian Air Force’s C-130J-30 fleet’s readiness for any mission is vital due to escalating security requirements. Trent assures that the Block 8.1 upgrade significantly bolsters the fleet’s readiness, providing expanded range, solid defense, and enhanced connectivity. The Norwegian Air Force initially received the Super Hercules fleet between 2008 and 2012.

Block 8.1. upgrade

The Block 8.1 upgrade has brought major improvements to the C-130J-30 Super Hercules. These affect the aircraft’s overall performance, primarily covering advanced systems for communication, navigation, and air traffic management. 

One of the major highlights of this upgrade is the updated avionics system. This includes an innovative flight management system, equipped with vertical navigation, and a digital autopilot. These upgrades are designed to enhance flight accuracy, thereby easing the workload for the pilot. 

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Furthermore, the Block 8.1 upgrade equips the aircraft with a cutting-edge weather radar system. This system provides more accurate weather data, thereby boosting flight safety and efficiency. A new collision avoidance system, offering real-time traffic updates to the crew, has also been included to prevent potential accidents. 

The upgrade pack also introduces a new Identification Friend or Foe [IFF] system. This essential addition can distinguish allies from enemies, which is extremely crucial in combat operations. An upgraded data link communication system ensures secure, real-time communication between the aircraft and ground control. 

Last but not least, the Block 8.1 upgrade introduces significant improvements to the aircraft’s defensive systems. The integration of new radar and missile warning systems significantly enhances the aircraft’s chances of survival in potentially hazardous environments.

About C-130J-30

Let’s discuss the Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules–a compelling aircraft with four propellers. This is the most recent version of the renowned C-130 Hercules, which has been in production since the 1950s. The ‘J-30’ is larger, permitting it to transport a greater load. 

This aircraft is powered by four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines. These engines are potent and can drive the plane to a top speed of nearly 417 miles per hour, or 671 kilometers per hour. The engines are also equipped with specialized six-blade Dowty Propellers constructed of composite material to resist wear and tear while maintaining efficiency. 

The Super Hercules is a substantial aircraft. Its length measures roughly 112 feet 9 inches [34.3 meters], its wings extend to 132 feet 7 inches [40.4 meters], and it stands 38 feet 10 inches [11.9 meters] tall. The ‘J-30’ version is extraordinary because it has been lengthened, allowing it to carry up to 44,000 pounds [20,000 kilograms]. 

This plane can traverse a distance of up to 2,356 miles [3,790 kilometers] without the need to refuel. If there’s a necessity to venture further, you don’t need to worry. It’s capable of aerial refueling, making the Super Hercules perfect for long-haul transport and relief missions.

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