C-130J Completes Icing Tests
MARIETTA, GA, July 22nd, 1998 -- Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems has successfully completed natural icing tests on the C-130J. These tests are among the last primary flight tests required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for basic type certification. With completion of the natural icing test, Lockheed Martin has completed more than 30,000 test points needed for FAA certification and C-130J customer qualifications, in what has been one of the most comprehensive and ambitious flight test programs of any new aircraft.
"What makes this effort so remarkable is that we essentially have conducted six separate flight test programs in parallel," said Bill Bernstein, vice president of Hercules Programs for Lockheed Martin. "The level of software integration for each configuration is staggering. In fact, the C- 130J software development program dwarfs any other program I know of. This level of integration, though, was key to giving the C-130J the kind of capability required by our customers for 21st century operations," Bernstein said.
At the same time, the company has been testing six C-130J configurations simultaneously, each with its own discrete integrated software design as required by various customers. The configurations in the flight test program were FAA type certification, Royal Air Force flight test configuration, baseline military configuration, and separate operational versions of the aircraft for the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the U.S. Air Force.
Lockheed Martin expects FAA certification during the third quarter, with deliveries set to begin within weeks after that. The company has orders for 83 C-130Js and options for 63 additional aircraft. Customers to date are the Royal Air Force, with 25 ordered; the Royal Australian Air Force, with 12 ordered; the Italian Air Force, with 18 ordered; and the U.S. government, with 28 aircraft ordered. The U.S. airplanes include versions for the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Reserve, the Air National Guard, and the U.S. Marine Corps.
The C-130J was developed in response to customer requirements for more cost-effective operation of the versatile aircraft. While the exterior looks very much like previous C-130s, the C-130J mission and propulsion systems have been completely redesigned. Primary features of the C-130J include a new digital avionics architecture, a new propulsion system, twin head-up pilot displays being certified as the primary flight displays, and dual mission computers that automate many functions, allowing the aircraft to be operated by only two pilots and a loadmaster.
"Since everything now goes through the mission computers, the level of software code needed to integrate and manage the systems has been tremendous," Bernstein said. "But we developed new software integration techniques to manage that process, and that has given Lockheed Martin a capability second to none."
Some of the new aircraft systems managed by the mission computers include the full authority digital engine controls, advisory caution and warning system, automatic thrust control, computerized maintenance recording, electronic circuit breaker system, enhanced stall warning system, advanced digital map, and a state-of-the-art communication/navigation suite.
The net effect of these and other improvements is enhanced performance of the aircraft, and greater reliability of the systems and components. For instance, when compared with C-130E models, the C-130J is expected to provide 40 percent greater range, 40 percent higher cruising ceiling, 50 percent decrease in time-to-climb, 21 percent increase in maximum speed, 41 percent decrease in maximum effort takeoff run and, most importantly, enhanced affordability with a 31 percent reduction in operating cost.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, an operating unit of Lockheed Martin, is based in Marietta, Georgia.