The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has commenced an upgrade program on its fleet of 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transports.
The program involves installing new Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) transponders.
The installation is being conducted by Airbus Australia Pacific in conjunction with Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group’s (CASG) Air Lift Systems Program Office (ALSPO) and Lockheed Martin.
The Mode 5 IFF radar-based identification system is the current NATO standard system, while ADS-B is the new transponder format used by civilian and military air traffic control services.
“This upgrade not only better informs air traffic control and other airspace users, it helps our crews to maintain airspace awareness and complete their missions safely,” Commander Air Mobility Group, AIRCDRE Bill Kourelakos said in a statement.
Officer Commanding ALSPO, GPCAPT Jacqueline Churchill added: “The C-130J Mode 5 IFF and ADS-B upgrade is a great example of how Defence and industry partners work together to achieve best practice outcomes.”
The upgrade comes on top of other tactical enhancements to the RAAF C-130J, including the addition of external auxiliary fuel tanks, SATCOM, and plans to integrate the Litening AT targeting pod with the aircraft.
This latest upgrade was specified by a portion of the international C-130J user group (JUG), comprising Australia, the UK, and Denmark, as part of ongoing block upgrades to the global C-130J fleet.
All 12 of the RAAF’s C-130J were expected to have received the upgrade by mid-2020.