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U.S. Air Force awards Raytheon C-130 radio upgrade contract

By Ryan Maass
Raytheon's radio upgrades for the U.S. Air Force's fleet of C-130H aircraft help the planes comply with new European Air Traffic Management requirements. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Harwood
Raytheon's radio upgrades for the U.S. Air Force's fleet of C-130H aircraft help the planes comply with new European Air Traffic Management requirements. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Harwood

MCKINNEY, Texas, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $29.6 million contract to install upgraded radio equipment on 178 C-130H Hercules aircraft.

Under the contract, Raytheon will install MXF-626K VHF Communications Systems, ensuring the Hercules planes will be able to comply with the European Air Traffic Managements newly adopted requirements by providing 8.33 kilohertz channel spacing in the range of 118 to 137 megahertz. Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems vice president of Integrated Communications Systems Scott Whatmough says having reliable communications is important.

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"Our focus is on ensuring Hercules operators can communicate freely, reliably and securely wherever their missions take them, and we are proud to partner with the U.S. Air Force to expand this critically important capability across the C-130 fleet," Whatmough said in a statement.

The MXF-626K is a VHF tactical communications system featuring both air-to-air and air-to-ground Line of Sight SINCGARS, or single channel ground and air radio system, Maritime Band operations, and Air Traffic Control. The system is designed to replace the ARC-186 radio system currently installed on C-130H aircraft.

In addition to the MXF-626K, Raytheon has also been contracted to upgrade communication systems for other C-130 aircraft, including the ski-equipped LC-130 "Ski Bird" used in Arctic and Antarctic missions, and the C-130H1.

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