The US Navy is set to deliver six renewed surplus ex-US Marine Corps (USMC) KC-130R Hercules aircraft to the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) as a part of the foreign military sales (FMS) programme.
Around four aircraft have been transferred from Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), Tuscan, Arizona, to Hill Air Force Base depot, Ogden, Utah, US, to begin phased maintenance interval restoration.
PMA-207 FMS deputy programme manager Ken Moritz said that maintainers were currently conducting different levels of structural modifications prior to performing JMSDF specified modifications, based on the aircraft's condition when recovered from AMARG.
Structural modifications to the aircraft will involve replacement of landing gear supports, cargo door supports, centre wing rainbow fittings and corrosion repairs.
"The total regeneration, overhaul and upgrade of each aircraft is expected to take approximately ten to 12 months," Moritz added.
Scheduled to be complete by fall 2013, renewal process of the first aircraft started in November 2012, while delivery to Japan is scheduled to take place by March 2014.
In roll-on roll-off cargo compartment configurations, the JMSDF will deploy the six KC-130R aircraft to support troop movement, supply of goods and services, conducting humanitarian and medical evacuation operations as well as transport of senior leaders.
In addition, JMSDF will receive 30 upgraded T56-A-16 engines and digital cockpit upgrades to accommodate a digital GPS.
Prior to aircraft delivery, CAE will provide six to eight weeks of initial pilot training at Davis Monthan AFB, as well as ten-week classroom training for aircrew and maintainers at the company's facility in Tampa, Florida, US, beginning in the third quarter of 2013.
The sixth aircraft is expected to be delivered to Japan in 2015.
Image: The first KC-130R aircraft undergoing regeneration at Hill Air Force Base. Photo: courtesy of Naval Air Systems Command.