Lockheed Martin is the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and design authority for the C-130. C-130s were originally designed in the 1950’s and are still being produced today. Thus far, Lockheed has made over 2,400 C-130s and over 60 countries fly them. It is an extremely durable aircraft that is loved throughout the world.
Each C-130 has well over 40 miles of wire in them; therefore, over the past 50 plus years you would assume that a wiring harness manufacturing company such as InterConnect Wiring (that has been in business for over 20 years) would have supplied many spare C-130 harnesses. Unfortunately with the exception of C-130 modifications and ground support equipment, InterConnect has not. Many companies have asked InterConnect whether we can supply spare C-130 wiring harnesses. Our answer has been “No”. So you ask “Why Not?” Well, here are the reasons why:
When C-130s were first designed, the wiring was not bundled together to form a wiring harness. Instead, each wire was installed one at a time throughout the entire aircraft. It must have been a monumental task to wire a C-130. There are over 10,000 wires in a C-130 thus it must have taken a tremendous amount of time just to wire the aircraft. Even more interesting is that the time to electrically test the aircraft must have taken months. Imagine putting over 10,000 wires in an aircraft and then having to “beep-out” each wire to ensure they were all hooked-up correctly! Wow!
So, when InterConnect was asked if we could supply spare C-130 wiring harnesses our answer has been “No” (because there were none). InterConnect could supply wires and other components normally found in wiring harnesses but not a bundled assembly because it just did not exist.
Up until the mid 1990’s what was written above was true. Now it is not with the development of the J model of the C-130. With the J model, removable wire bundles were designed and are now the norm for C-130s. By using modular bundles, the electrical installation time has sped-up the production time of a C-130 substantially. There are now over 125 wiring harness bundles in a C-130. They range in size from simple coaxial wires to huge bundles that are almost 6 inches in diameter.
Over the years there are a handful of companies that have rewired older C-130s and at that time have designed and installed bundled assemblies. As C-130s continue to age, there is more of a demand to rewire older models. Some of the wire is so old that just by moving the wires they break and fall off. Wire and wire insulation are not meant to last forever. Wires do have a half-life! Generally speaking for all aircraft (both military and civilian), wiring should be evaluated after 20 years and potentially replaced. The wiring for aircraft that operate in harsh environments, such as aboard a ship or that fly low over oceans, should be evaluated after five years and monitored each year thereafter.
The mission to find C-130 wiring harnesses was mission impossible. Today, it is mission possible! Now when asked InterConnect can say “Yes” we can supply spare C-130J wiring harnesses.
Note: John Ashour, president of InterConnect Wiring, was a part of the engineering team that designed the wiring harnesses for the C-130J model. The engineering team faced many difficulties in changing the design from a “wire by wire installation” to modular bundles. The end result was that C-130Js are much easier to manufacture and maintain than previous models. Like their predecessors, C-130J models are amazing aircraft.
Learn more at: www.localhost/inct