The US Air Force Reserve Command’s C-130H fleet has begun the transition from analog to digital with testing beginning on a major upgrade of the aircraft’s avionics system.

The update, called Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2, is a significant improvement to the almost 60-year-old aircraft’s avionics and navigation systems. 

The goal for the modernization effort is supporting mobility air forces to sufficiently meet National Defense Strategy priorities, according to the C-130H legacy avionics branch.  The upgrade provides a new flight management system, autopilot, large glass multifunctional displays, digital engine instruments, digital backbone and terrain awareness and warning system. 

“This modification completely changes the interface for the crew to employ the C-130H,” said Maj. Jacob Duede, 417th FLTS experimental test pilot. “Aircrew essentially had to print the directions before flying and then type the information in using latitude and longitude or use ground-based navigation aids. This new mod is the newest GPS navigation with a by name search function and autopilot, all built into the aircraft.”

More than 23 Air Force Reserve and 54 Air National Guard C-130H aircraft will receive the AMP Inc 2 modification over the next 5 years at a cost of approximately $7 million per aircraft.