For the past 45 years, the Royal Air Force (RAF) has depended on the C-130 to support a variety of critical missions; most recently for everything from humanitarian support in Haiti to Special Forces combat operations in Afghanistan.
These types of missions have defined the outstanding capabilities of the C-130. There is a cogent reason why it has become the world’s most successful, flexible airlifter and why it is a proven workhorse.
The C-130 has worked hard to earn this reputation and a team of aerospace ‘who’s who’ works equally as hard to maintain this standing.
Known as Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS), this team made its debut in 2006 as a joint partnership between the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), Marshall Aerospace (MA), Rolls-Royce (R-R) and Lockheed Martin (LM), providing long-term support for the RAF C-130 fleet. MA acts as the HIOS prime contractor along with Rolls-Royce and Lockheed Martin as sub-primes. The foundation of HIOS is a partnered approach between the MoD and industry to assure aircraft availability to the RAF.
The contract covers a 24-year period extending to the C-130K’s and C-130J’s out-of-service dates and covers:
- Aircraft maintenance (MA lead)
- Technical support (MA lead)
- Supply chain (LM lead)
- Propulsion management (R-R lead)
HIOS team members include representatives from all partners, including the RAF. The majority of HIOS work is conducted at UK locations; RAF Brize Norton, where the operational C-130K and C-130J fleets are based with HIOS industry technical, supply chain and simulator support; Cambridge, where HIOS partners perform depot maintenance, modifications and provide technical support and management. Other US locations include Rolls-Royce’s Indianapolis facility and Lockheed Martin’s C-130 plant in Marietta, Georgia.