Australian Government: Department of Defence
Defence Capability Plan 2009 - Public Version

AIR 5440

Phase 1 C-130J Block Upgrade Program 7.0

Phase 2 C-130J Block Upgrade Program 8.0

Phase Scope

This project consists of a number of phases each of which will constitute the respective Block Upgrades to the C‑130J Hercules. The scope of each phase is likely to contain elements of software and system reliability and maintainability, technology refresh, technology obsolescence, and new capability. The final composition of each phase is intended to be determined collaboratively between all C‑130J user nations and take into account the respective national priorities.


The C-130J Hercules features software and hardware systems and functionality which require regular upgrades throughout the life of the aircraft. Accordingly, C-130J users need to, as a minimum, combat obsolescence and maintain reliability and maintainability of systems through regular upgrades to their respective C-130J fleets. The C-130J Block Upgrade Program (BUP) was set up by the international users to manage these upgrades in an effective and efficient manner. The C‑130J BUP is managed by the C-130J Joint User Group (JUG) in conjunction with the original equipment manufacturer, Lockheed Martin (LM Aero). The scope of each Block Upgrade is collaboratively established by the joint user community (seven nations) and consists of five key elements being; requirements definition, design development, modification development and acquisition, national installation and through-life support arrangements.

Australian Industry Opportunities


There is limited scope for Australian industry involvement in the Block Upgrades. There is no scope within the design development and modification development elements of the project because of ongoing arrangements with other C‑130J users and LM Aero, and also because the method of procurement and contracting will be through the US Foreign Military Sales process.

Through‑life Support

The national installation and the through‑life support (TLS) element of the project will be undertaken as Australian unique activities and will require Australian industry participation. Australian industry participation is expected to continue throughout future phases.

Industry capabilities and activities for Phase 1 will involve installing the tested and certified Block 7.0 Upgrade package onto the C-130J fleet and providing TLS for the Block 7.0 life-of-type. These activities will be undertaken using extant C-130J support contracts, and will include:

  • changes to the supply support systems – codification, identification and acceptance of assets;
  • assistance with the engineering effort to augment the project team’s resources during the test, design acceptance and certification activities;
  • development and incorporation of the changes to the full-flight simulator;
  • upgrade to the other training systems and training courseware and material;
  • and in-service support.
Industry Capabilities and Activities

Capabilities and related activities that may provide opportunities for Australian industry in these phases include:

Phases 1 and 2 Capability
Activity Rotary & Fixed Wing Aircraft
In-Service / Through-life Support D
Logistics Support D
Modelling / Simulation O
Repair and Maintain D
Test and Evaluate O
Acquisition Category (ACAT)
Phases 1 and 2
ACAT Attribute Complexity Level Assessment
Acquisition Cost Level 3 Moderate $100m–$500m (Towards the lower end of the band) (for each phase)
Project Management Complexity Level 3 Moderate
Schedule Level 3 Moderate
Technical Difficulty Level 3 Moderate
Operation and Support Level 3 Moderate
Commercial Level 3 Moderate

The ACAT Level assessed for each of these Phases is ACAT III.

Planned Schedule Highlights

First Pass Approval

Phase 1

Phase 2

FY 2009-10 to FY 2010-11

FY 2012-13 to FY 2014-15


Phase 1

Phase 2

FY 2009-10 to FY 2010-11

FY 2012-13 to FY 2014-15

Initial Operating Capability

Phase 1

Phase 2

2012 to 2014

2015 to 2017

Points of Contact


Phases 1 and 2

Capability Staff:

Deputy Director Combat Mobility

(02) 6265 1073

Defence Materiel Organisation:

Project Director AIR 5440

Airlift Systems Program Office

(02) 4588 1165

Defence Capability Plan / 2009 / Public Version