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Mon, Feb 21, 2005

Marines' New KC-130J Passes Second Op-Eval

Includes Latest ECM

The Marines' new KC-130J, the next generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft, has successfully passed its' second operational evaluation. The new aircraft is part of the Marine Corps transformational efforts to increase speed, persistence, precision, and reach to project capabilities over longer distances. This aircrafts' second Op eval concentrated on the on-board electronic countermeasures equipment.

The Commander of the Operational Test and Evaluation Force found that the equipment was operationally effective in both permissive and non-permissive environments.

"The electronic countermeasures equipment in the KC-130J incorporates the latest in defensive systems designed to protect the aircraft and crew from hostile threats," said Marine Corps Maj. John Albers, the Principal Deputy for C-130 aircraft, PMA-207. "When the on-board electronic countermeasures equipment detects a threat, the system automatically dispenses the appropriate counter measure to neutralize that particular threat."

Thirty-two Op Eval test flights, totaling more than 60 flight hours, were flown against realistic threat scenarios both at China Lake, Calif. and Cherry Point, NC. An additional 33 test flights, totaling more than 70 hours, were flown at Cherry Point, NC and at Yuma, AZ during a pre-deployment exercise called "Desert Talon."

"During the evaluation phase of the testing, some anomalies were discovered but these were corrected and a number of enhancements were made to the systems," said Albers. "This system is better than what we have in the fleet today."

The first successful Op Eval of the KC-130J's was completed in April 2004, and the aircraft was found effective and suitable in a permissive threat environment.

As a result of this second successful Op Eval, the Marine Corps' next generation aerial refueler is set to embark on its first operational deployment in the next few days.

The KC-130J is replacing aging KC-130 tankers, some as old as 46 years, currently in the Marine Corps fleet. The KC-130J provides enhanced aircrew and utility systems such as improved avionics with night vision capability and improved flight performance. Capability is extended with improved reliability and maintainability, increased mission availability and improved delivery of fuel.

FMI: www.usmc.mil

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