Proactive Service for C-130J

A new technical-logistical support pattern for the Air Force Super Hercules at the Italian Air Force base in Pisa, where our experts take care of the mighty turboprop engines.

Mar 2022

The solid partnership between Avio Aero and the Italian Air Force continues following the signing of a five-year agreement - together with Leonardo and Lockheed Martin, members of a Temporary Grouping of Companies - for the technical and logistical support of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules’ fleet: the latest version of the iconic transport aircraft that has defined an era with more than 50 years of history.

Avio Aero will take care of the maintenance and support for the Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 engines, employing the technicians and experts of the Brindisi plant, ensuring operational  support at the 46th Airborne Brigade air base in Pisa.

"We are among the leading service providers for technical-logistical support and engine maintenance for the Italian Air Force. The signing of this contract is a success that started out long ago and that is rooted in a relationship of trust built up with the customer over many years" says Salvatore Sisinni, Senior Commercial Proposals Director of Avio Aero.

A relationship that sees Avio Aero operating in 8 Air Force bases, offering support and maintenance for engine fleets such as the EJ200 (for the Eurofighter Typhoon), Spey (for the AMX International Ghibli), RB199 (for the Panavia Tornado), AE 2100 (C-130J Super Hercules) and T700 (for the HH101 helicopter). "For this new contract, in addition to the long-standing collaboration with the Air Force, the joint work of the various company departments has been fundamental, enabling us to show to the customer the value of our project compared to that of our competitor," says Sisinni.

A view of the Service area inside the Avio Aero Brindisi plant.

A contract that, as Sisinni explains, "provides for a Performance-Based Logistics type support model, thanks to which the Brindisi plant will play a fundamental role in ensuring the maintenance of the turboprop engines over the next 5 years. In addition, we will offer fleet monitoring and in-service event analysis services through a cross-functional team of dedicated program technicians."

As regards the services offered to the 46th Pisa Air Brigade, the Avio Aero team will continue to be present in the form of the Field Service Representative, who will be flanked by other specialized figures, including the Fleet Manager, who will have the task of guaranteeing the Air Force constant and effective support.

“The contract signed represents a further step forward in the efficiency process, in progress since some years, of the C-130J fleet, a strategic aircraft for the Italian Air Force” says General Cristiano Bandini, Logistic Command’s 2nd Division Commander. “Moving from a ‘Time and Material’ concept aiming to support the AE2100D3 turboprop engine represents an important investment by the Armed Force both in financial terms, but also in terms of trust in the company abilities to meet the proposed requirement. We are sure that all the objectives set in terms of efficiency and availability of C-130J fleet will be achieved, through teamwork and the ‘win-win’ logic of the Performance Based Logistics”

For the Air Force, insofar as this aircraft is used not only for transportation but also for airdrop missions and humanitarian purposes or - as happened during the Covid 19 pandemic - for urgent bio-containment medical transportation, the C-130J fleet is considered one of the most strategic.

A worker in the Brindisi plant carries an engine's part through digitized doors of the Service shop.

"Finalizing this agreement confirms the validity of our Customer Support model, which allows us to provide our customers with dedicated technical-logistics services, ensuring that the fleet has operational continuity and that operators are ready to handle any type of mission, as in the case of the C-130Js in service with the Air Force", added Luca Nuzzo, Commercial and Customer Services - Head of CSS&T Sales at Leonardo, which has the role of agent within the Temporary Grouping of Companies (TGC).

"The TGC established in support of the Italian C-130Js is a demonstration of the model's ability to integrate and interact with that of long-term partners, maintaining the broadest effectiveness and reliability in proposing increasingly responsive and functional solutions that are also based upon performance parameters. An extremely satisfactory result that lays the foundations for further developing a model of cooperation that is already excellent" explains Nuzzo.

The agreement for the support of the Super Hercules fleet also adds a further step in consolidating the partnership between the two Italian companies: "it represents an increasingly significant cooperation in the support of aircraft engines that has already seen our two companies working together for years. At Leonardo in Caselle, for example, where the Avio Aero team provides support to the flight activities of Eurofighter and Tornado," adds Nuzzo.

A C-130J of Aeronautica Militare in flight.

Among the peculiarities of the C-130J, there is the powerful turboprop engine created by the then Allison Engine Company, which is capable of developing a maximum of 4637 SHP with a compression ratio of 16.6:1.

"The Performance-Based Logistics service aims to reduce the bureaucracy associated with contract management by focusing on the customer's priority requirement, i.e. the operational availability of the aircraft and the maximum efficiency of the fleet," explains Sisinni. "This contract type opened a virtuous path with the objective of leading Avio Aero and the Italian Air Force to transfer this support model to other programs as well."

"The idea is to continue to grow each other's expertise in order to continually improve and adapt the service offered to the entire defense sector," Sisinni concludes. The goal, then, is to make the C-130J fleet even more high-performing, sustainable and ready to deploy, whilst at the same time reducing risk and ensuring maximum reliability. Therefore, the result of Avio Aero's work will be evaluated on the basis of the achievement of certain performance levels, transforming the logistic support from reactive to proactive.

C-130J images in page are courtesy of Aeronautica Militare - "Troupe Azzurra"