Abaco Systems picked to upgrade avionics embedded computing aboard C-130J special operations gunships

Feb. 15, 2021
Abaco will upgrade an existing side head-up display that enables crew visibility of the battlespace for the C-130J four-engine turboprop.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – U.S. military special forces experts needed a company to upgrade avionics head-up displays in U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) C-130J gunships. They found their solution from Abaco Systems Inc. in Huntsville, Ala.

Abaco has announced a potential $4.5 million design win to upgrade an existing side head up display in AC-130J gunships. This side HUD enables crew visibility of the battlespace for the special operations version of the C-130J four-engine turboprop gunship.

Abaco's MAGIC1A embedded computing system was chosen after meeting requirements for increased data storage space, high processing capacity, and cyber security.

Abaco has delivered about 50 legacy MAGIC1 systems over the past several years for this application. The MAGIC1A delivers graphics and computer processing to a legacy design for integration aboard the C-130J.

Related: General Dynamics to upgrade Type 3 avionics computer systems for Super Hornet and Growler combat jets

The operational stability of the legacy product combined with a clean tech insertion and upgrade path to current-generation capabilities with the MAGIC1A system a logical choice for this design win, company officials say.

The design called for pin-compatibility with the legacy system and an upgrade to the MAGIC1A met that need. Abaco's approach will enable a reduced technology footprint on the aircraft via serial digital interface I/O upgrade on the system.

The Special Forces C-130J comes in two variants: the AC-130J Ghostrider and the MC-130J Commando II.

The AC-130J Ghostrider is a modified C-130J aircraft with advanced two-pilot flight station, digital avionics, dual inertial navigation systems, color weather radar, and Global Positioning System (GPS) for extremely accurate navigation. The aircraft is for close air support, air interdiction, and armed reconnaissance.

Related: Rugged embedded computing system for developing avionics mission computers introduced by Abaco

The MC-130J Commando II aircraft has avionics similar to the AC-130J, and has a combat systems operator and auxiliary flight deck stations; 13 color multifunctional liquid crystal displays; head-up displays; integrated navigation systems; improved fuel, environmental, and ice-protection systems; enhanced cargo-handling system; infrared sensors; satellite communications for voice and data; increased DC electrical output; and provisions for the Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM).

The Raytheon Technologies Corp. Intelligence & Space segment in McKinney, Texas, is providing the AC-130J and MC-130J Next-Generation Special Mission Processors (NextGen SMP) that enable technicians to install unique Special Forces equipment aboard the aircraft.

These new mission processor avionics systems provide capability improvements, and potentially will replace the AC- and MC-130J's current special mission processors.

For more information contact Abaco Systems online at www.abaco.com.

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