The Israel Aerospace Force has virtually completed the renovation of the aircraft of its 131st Squadron. through a full upgrade, which includes new, state-of-the-art avionics, of its veteran Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules or Karnaf as its Israeli designation means.
The idea of subjecting the Karnaf to an avionics improvement process arose for the first time in February 2008. At this point it was already clear that the C-130 fleet that had been in operation since the early 1970s, including the spectacular Entebbe, had to be renewed (Uganda) Raid 1976. Some were replaced by an order from Lockheed Martin for the new version, the C-130J-30 Super Hercules or Shimshon
At the same time, it was decided to upgrade the avionics of the most advanced Hercules primary version, the C-130H, by implementing the new systems developed by the Israeli defense industry in the field. Therefore, Elbit Systems was selected for this work in 2012 as the person responsible for avionics and IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) for the general maintenance and replacement of all aircraft. The prototype was presented in 2015.
While the fleet was being modernized, the members of the ?? Yellow Bird ?? I had to continue the activity: we could not interrupt our operational activity. The Karnaf is used for many tactical transportation missions, such as moving equipment, low altitude flights, and refueling CH-53 helicopters, a task unique to our squadron ?, describes Lt. Col. A (not his correct Name) than usual in IDF). Parallel to the improvement process, the 103rd season ?? Elephants ?? Operations to integrate the new Shimshon aircraft have been temporarily suspended, so most of its heavy haul missions have been entrusted to them.
In 2017, the 131st squadron was split into two parts: one operated the non-modernized Karnaf aircraft, the other focused on redesigning the squadron for the new version, or Avionic Karnaf. Today the update of the 8 Karnaf of the 131st Squadron by Elbit Systems and IAI is almost complete. It was a complex project: to introduce a Karnaf that has existed for almost half a century to a new generation. We have managed to combine the past with the future while preserving the strong legacy of the squad. The process required rigorous planning and a combination of professional fields, ”explains Major Mordi, commander of the Squad Maintenance Group in Nevatim, where the two Hercules and Super Hercules squadrons are located.
Old Karnaf failed to complete the required missions and challenges the crews face in 2021. As a result, many new features have been added to the flight platform to allow crews to work safely and effectively. The cockpit has been completely renovated and has become a “glass cockpit”. As a result, the old systems that showed important information such as flight path, engine status, radar, weather conditions, etc. were replaced by the latest generation of screens. In addition, a heads-up display (HUD), similar to that of fighter planes, has been added. The improvement affects not only the avionics, but also the mechanics. Some aircraft have had their wings replaced, which is not often the case. There are still 45 year old parts, but they are extensively maintained. (Julio Maíz Sanz)
Photography: The ?? new ?? C-130HI Hercules of the Israeli Air Force at their base in Nevatim. (Photo Amit Agronov)
The new cockpit of the C-130HI is fully equipped with digital multifunctional displays. (Photo Amit Agronov)
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