C-130J Receives FAA Certification
MARIETTA, GA, September 9th, 1998 -- Lockheed MartinÂ¿s C-130J Hercules received final type certification today from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following one of the most comprehensive programs ever for an aircraft. "This has been an extensive effort for the company, our suppliers, and for the FAA, and the result is well worth what we put into it," said Lockheed Martin Hercules Programs Vice President Bill Bernstein. "We are concentrating now on getting these aircraft into operation with our initial customers."
The C-130J/C-130J-30 was certified under FAA Federal Aviation Regulations Part 25 covering transport aircraft.
The company will begin deliveries of aircraft to customers requiring FAA certification as soon as final aircraft preparations are complete. Customer for these aircraft are the Royal Australian Air Force and the U.S. Air Force.
The first aircraft was delivered August 24 to BritainÂ¿s Royal Air Force, which did not require FAA certification. The RAF will use a number of certification test points conducted by the company as the basis for its own flight test program.
The company has a total order book of 83 aircraft to date Â¿ a mixture of C-130J and C-130J-30 aircraft Â¿ for four countries. The RAF has orders for 25 aircraft, the RAAF has ordered 12 aircraft, the Italian Air Force has ordered 18 aircraft, and the U.S. government has ordered 28 aircraft. The U.S. government planes are split among the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Reserve, the Air National Guard, and the U.S. Marine Corps.
In addition to the FAA certification flight test requirements, Lockheed Martin simultaneously performed flight test programs on five other configurations of the
C-130J called for by initial customers.
The flight test program for certification called for performance of more than 30,000 test points covering flying qualities, avionics performance, system reliability and functionality, and safety systems. FAA regulations are among the most rigorous in the world, requiring an aircraft to perform safely in a variety of conditions Â¿ some that would normally occur during regular operations, others that may never be experienced.
"I think itÂ¿s no exaggeration to say we have a better product as a result of the certification process," Bernstein said. "By improving performance under the harshest of conditions, we automatically enhance performance for normal operations Â¿ though itÂ¿s hard to define a Â¿normalÂ¿ mission for the C-130J."
To accomplish the flight test of the C-130J, the company used nine aircraft and flew more than 4,100 flight hours from a variety of locations, the bulk of which was from MariettaÂ¿s Dobbins Air Reserve Base and Edwards Air Force Base in California. Other testing was done from remote sites around the world as requirements dictated. For instance, ice testing was done in the mountains of South America when it was summer in Georgia.
While the exterior looks very much like previous C-130s, the C-130J flight station and propulsion systems have been completely redesigned. Primary features of the C-130J include a new engine/propeller combination, digital avionics architecture, twin head-up pilot displays certified as primary flight instruments, and dual mission computers which automate many functions, allowing the aircraft to be operated by only two pilots and a loadmaster.
The net effect of these 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 provides 40 percent greater range, 40 percent higher cruising ceiling, 50 percent decrease in time-to-climb, 21 percent increase in maximum speed, and 41 percent decrease in maximum effort takeoff run.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, an operating unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, is based in Marietta, Georgia. In addition to developing and producing advanced airlift aircraft such as the C-130J, the company is the prime contractor for the F-22 Raptor. Aeronautical Systems is producing the C-27J light tactical airlifter (in partnership with ItalyÂ¿s Alenia) and the C-130J-30 AEW&C system (in partnership with Northrop Grumman) for a variety of international customers.