Mark Ayton spoke with members of Lockheed Martin’s LM-100J programme team ahead of the type’s first flight
LOCKHEED MARTIN LM-100J
Dobbins Air Reserve Base outside the city of Marietta, Georgia, was the venue for the latest maiden flight of an American commercial aircraft on May 25: Lockheed Martin’s LM-100J (Model 382J). Lockheed Martin’s chief test pilot for the LM-100J programme, Wayne Roberts said it performed fiawlessly. According to a Lockheed Martin spokesperson, LM-100J N5103D (c/n 5818) followed the same test flight route over North Georgia and Alabama used for all C-130J aircraft.
Because the C-130J remains in production it’s easy to forget how many years the type has been around; the prototype (c/n 5408, RAF serial number ZH865) made its maiden flight on April 5, 1996. It’s equally easy to overlook that 16 previous different mission capabilities developed for the C-130J precede the LM-100J, which is a modern version of the Lockheed Model 382B (L-100) cargo aircraft produced at Marietta between 1964 (L-100 c/n 3946) and 1992 (L-100-30 c/n 5306). All 115 L-100s were built by the then Lockheed-Georgia Company at Marietta and marketed as L-100s (Model 382Bs), L-100-20s (Model 382Es and 382Fs) and L-100-30s (Model 382Gs). The original Model 382B made its first flight on April 20, 1964, and the ultimate stretched version, the Model 382G, followed in August 1970.
Lockheed-Georgia applied to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for certification of the Model 382B on April 23, 1964; certification was issue on February 16, 1965.
Length: 112ft 9in (34.37m)
Height: 38ft 10in (11.81m)
Wingspan: 132ft 7in (40.38m)
Horizontal tail span: 52ft 8in (16.05m)
Max takeoff weight: 164,000lb (74,389kg)
Maximum payload: 48,200lb (21,863kg)
Operating weight: 80,350lb (36,650kg)
Max zero fuel weight: 126,000lb (58,513kg)
Land distance (135,000lb): 3,100ft (945m)
Range (40,000lb payload): 2,390 nautical miles (4,425km)
Max cruise speed: 355kts (660km/h)
Power plant: Four Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turboprop engines each rated at 4,591shp and fitted with all composite Dowty R391 six-blade propellers
When Lockheed marketed the L-100-30 it was dubbed the Super Hercules, because of its 112ft 9in (34.35m) fuselage length, some 15ft (4.56m) longer than the original L-100, which has a fuselage length of 97ft 9in (29.79m).
Interestingly, today’s Lockheed Martin feature an original L-100-30 marketing flyer in its selection of historic photos and documents used to promote the LM-100J. Dubbed as the Super Hercules back in 1970, Lockheed’s then marketing department didn’t lack imagination for the latest stretched Hercules, as illustrated in an advertisement from that period.
Back then a turboprop was referred to as a propjet and a Super Hercules was an L-100-30, not a C-130J. It makes interesting reading.
How to get almost anything almost anywhere. Fast
When it comes to cargo, there’s nothing like the biggest Hercules yet built – the L-100-30. The Super Hercules.
The pictures tell a lot of the story. The Super Hercules hauls fully assembled tractors, big jet engines, large containers in its square-shaped fuselage – cargo impossible for most aircraft. And thanks to its low cargo deck and rear ramp, it loads and unloads easily in remote areas without any of the ground-handling equipment so essential for other aircraft. The Super Hercules also gives you drive-on, drive-off handling – and that means the fastest turnaround time of any commercial cargo plane.
What the pictures don’t show is fuel savings. Those propjet engines on the Super Hercules need far less fuel than fanjets. Fuel savings – measured in gallons of fuel per cargo-ton mile – range from 15% over a range of 1,800 miles to 25% over a range of 500 miles.
Runway versatility is another part of the Super Hercules story. It can use runways that are much shorter than those required by fanjet aircraft. The Super Hercules can handle runways as short as 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). And it’s at home on dirt, sand or gravel runways. With the Super Hercules, you can go where the cargo is needed.
The Super Hercules…the L-100-30. It’s big in everything except fuel consumption. When it comes to cargo planes, Lockheed knows how.
Product launch and markets
According to Lockheed Martin’s Tom Frese, vice president for Air Mobility and Maritime Missions business development, the initial market demand for the C-130J came from military operators and Lockheed Martin focused on supporting that demand. As the C-130J’s military operator base grew, existing L-100 operators told Lockheed Martin that as their legacy L-100 fleets were reaching the end of their service lives, the operators still had a need for the Herc. More specifically, Frese said it was these operators who told Lockheed Martin that only “a Herc can replace a Herc,” expressing a strong interest in a civilian version of the C-130J. Never a company to miss a chance to sell aeroplanes and make a few bucks, Lockheed Martin decided to pursue the concept of the LM-100J in 2013 driven with the knowledge that its customer requirement was driven by one primary fact: many L-100s may have to be retired due to fatigue life under FAA mandates.
According to Lockheed Martin, its officials submitted a Program Notification Letter to the FAA on January 21, 2014, for a type design update for the Model 382J aircraft, marketed as the civil-certified LM-100J.
When asked the objectives behind the decision to launch the LM-100J and which markets Lockheed Martin believes it can serve, Tom Frese replied: “It’s about what the C-130J is good at and its ability to operate from remote airfields and airstrips, and some of the missions the aircraft is really geared for. A requirement to deliver cargo to undeveloped areas of countries with many unprepared airstrips present a sweet spot for the LM- 100J. Operators typically would not take a converted airliner like a 737 and put it in those areas. We are not trying to compete with paved runway to paved runway operations.”
Lockheed Martin’s shiny LM-100J brochure states that growth provisions built into the LM-100J will enable it to support a variety of missions that include:
- Oil spill clean-up
- Oil exploration and mining logistics operations
- Aerial firefighting and delivery
- Medevac/air ambulance
- Humanitarian relief operations
- VIP transport
- Aerial spray
Feres said Lockheed Martin sees a commercial market for the LM-100J around the world but primarily in Africa, India and South America. Frese noted the LM-100J is not just an asset that would be operated in commercial markets, but could also be part of a military fleet — as was the case with the L-100. Some governments are interested in the LM-100J for humanitarian relief, surveillance and reconnaissance and search and rescue. He stressed how a civil variant opens up additional doors and can be more readily exported than a military version, because of the associated restrictions.
In developing the LM-100J, Lockheed Martin is offering ef ciencies to its customers, and according to Tom Frese the concept of the aircraft is its ability to do more for less, thanks to a series of design improvements and bene ts in performance and cost to the customer. On the latter, Lockheed Martin says the LM-100J, like the C-130J, will give a near 20% fuel ef ciency improvement, thanks to its AE 2100D3 turboprop engines and Dowty R391 six-blade composite propellers, and near 30% lower operational support costs. By selecting the 2100 engine, Lockheed Martin complied with the airworthiness standards for aircraft engines mandated in Federal Aviation Regulation 33, the same standard in existence since the C-130J’s certi cation in 1996.
The engines generate more available horsepower up to higher altitudes or at higher temperatures, which gives improved short eld performance and improved timeto- climb performance, which in turn gives a better payload range performance than the legacy L-100.
When asked about locations of its target markets, Tom Frese said Lockheed Martin sees a larger international market comprising commercial operators and some governments.
As for the domestic market, Lockheed Martin has several large commercial operators, but orders from this sector are unlikely to materialise in the near future, though Frese underlined it won’t be ignored.
According to Eddie Fletcher, a design engineer on the programme, the main changes are to the baseline C-130J avionics to equip the LM-100J with a communications and navigation suite, driven by the need to comply with worldwide communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) requirements.
Another mandate, Special Federal Aviation Regulation 88—fuel tank system fault tolerance evaluation requirements aka SFAR 88—covering transport aircraft fuel tank system design review, fiammability reduction, and maintenance and inspection requirements had to be designed into the LM-100J’s fuel tank ignition prevention system.
Lockheed Martin has added carbon brakes to help with a higher landing weight and maintenance costs, things that existing operators are looking for.
Some systems installed on military C-130Js are not included on the LM- 100J, such as the defensive systems and the crypto elements related to military communications.
Lockheed Martin has integrated the Honeywell RDR-4000 weather radar system to meet the requirements for certification by the FAA. According to Honeywell Aerospace, the RDR-4000’s 3D display provides an accurate and intuitive view of airborne weather hazards, resulting in improved hazard avoidance and increased safety.
The system is a straight swap for the APS- 241 weather radar used on the C-130J.
The C-130J complies with the airworthiness standards mandated in Federal Aviation Regulation 25 and was certi ed in 1996. Lockheed Martin has continued to meet all airworthiness requirements pertaining to a military aircraft, but has not kept the C-130J up to date with FAA requirements covering commercial aircraft.
With the LM-100J, Lockheed Martin is updating its documentation to ensure the new con guration meets the latest Federal Aviation Regulation standards. Many of the updates have been driven primarily by obsolescence and also diminishing manufacturing resources.
To meet FAA requirements, Lockheed Martin has incorporated a hard shell liner in the cargo cabin similar to those tted to commercial airliners. By comparison, C-130Js have soft insulation padding attached to the inner fuselage.
The LM-100J has four fewer windows on the flight deck compared to a C-130J, dubbed knee windows because they are positioned level with the pilots’ knees; one on each side and two smaller examples one on each side at the front. That’s nothing new. The L-100 was similar.
Commercial operators do not require knee windows, which are costly to maintain if they crack or break.
The absence of four knee windows saves just a little time and cost in a relatively straightforward production process on the same nose to tail production line at Marietta that’s been certi ed by the FAA since the 1960s. LM-100Js are being built using the same processes as the C-130J.
During the LM-100J’s design phase, Lockheed Martin spoke with operators of the L-100 who wanted the controls for the external ramp and door to be installed on the aircraft to allow them to service the aircraft when fully loaded. In comparison, the controls for the external ramp and door are tted in the aft of the C-130J and would therefore remain out of reach when fully loaded.
There are no hardware changes on the flight deck of the LM-100J versus the C-130J; the four multifunction control displays and the communication, navigation, identi cation management units or control panels, and two head-up displays, the pilots’ primary flight displays remain the same. From a pilot’s perspective, the flight decks of the C-130J and LM-100J have a high degree of commonality.
However, changes have been made within the flight management system (FMS) that provide more delity for the navigation and guidance of the aircraft. The FMS complies with the mandates for flying on civil airways and GPS-based Required Navigation Performance approach (RNP APCH), and area navigation (RNAV) are built in.
When asked whether the LM-100J features any changes to its cargo handling system to meet the requirements of the commercial cargo market Tom Frese replied: “The baseline offering is referred to as a flat four using standard 463L pallets or containers. If required, the operator will be able to adapt the floor to a commercial cargo handling system.
Today, a lot of our customers take advantage of the 10,000lb-rated D-rings positioned every 20 inches [500mm] on the floor to tie loads down. Customers will dictate what type of commercial cargo handling system they require and what type of pallets and containers they will carry.”
Tom Frese affirmed the LM-100J is a standard C-130 with a ramp and a door that can load and offioad cargo very easily with standard ground equipment: “It’s a little different for commercial operators flying 737s who use side doors which are not at truck height level, who have optimised themselves very well for the markets they serve. We view the LM-100J as a solution for hauling cargo to sites with limited ground equipment and support: the LM-100 is accommodating to such a situation versus a commercial aircraft.”
Last year, the LM-100J programme achieved a series of production and assembly milestones at Lockheed Martin facilities in Marietta, Georgia, Meridian, Mississippi and Clarksburg, West Virginia.
In April 2016, the company reported production of the wing had begun at Marietta and production of the cargo deck had also started at Meridian, Mississippi.
In mid-August, details were released on delivery of the empennage, manufactured by Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd, a joint venture between Indian company Tata and Lockheed Martin. Cab top production had also begun and the Marietta plant had received the cargo deck from Meridian.
Finally, fuselage mate was completed on October 10 followed by completion of the wing installation on October 24.
Lockheed Martin is using two LM-100J test aircraft (N5103D c/n 5818 and c/n 5824) for the FAA test and certi cation programme. Both aircraft were built with conformity requirements levied against them.
For the most part, the levied requirements comprised additional inspections to ensure the aircraft are produced in accordance with the required engineering and are signed off accordingly. Once testing and certi cation is complete, the production conformities currently in place will be lifted. Both of the test aircraft were built under contract to Lockheed Martin’s launch customer and will be delivered to that customer once the test and certi cation programme is complete.
After its roll-out on February 9, aircraft N5103D (c/n 5818) started a series of ground tests to verify systems functionality, these continued until all installations were complete. Lockheed Martin’s initial production flight test programme started with the May 25 maiden flight; the FAA type certi cation update flight test requirements phase is expected to start later this summer.
All data required for the certi cation process will be collected during flight testing and used in the reports written up by Lockheed Martin, and submitted to the FAA. Lockheed Martin expects LM-100J type certi cation to be complete by the second quarter of 2018.
Lockheed Martin’s strategy for winning sales of the LM-100J is in part based on commonality with the C-130J. For governments already operating the C-130J, commonality with the LM-100J makes pilot conversion simpler. Pilot conversion will be further enhanced when a new international training centre is opened at Marietta in the early part of next year. The company says the centre will feature academic classrooms and a level D flight simulator; a system that can be recon gured from C-130J to LM-100J standard and vice versa fairly quickly. The Marietta training centre will support initial quali cation, refresher courses, instructor quali cation and mission training, offering increased value to customers.
On the day of the rst flight, Wayne Roberts, chief test pilot for the LM- 100J programme and the rst person to fly the new model, summed up the aircraft: “This new model will perform many commercial roles in the decades to come, like humanitarian service following natural disasters and others like oil spill containment, and re ghting. This aircraft will also enable remote area development for mining and oil and gas exploration. This day marks the beginning of a tremendous commercial capability that only the LM- 100J can deliver.”