The U.S. Air Force’s C-130 transport has remained versatile and relevant for seven decades through the timely implementation of upgrades to the original airframe. Today, it is time for another such upgrade: an enhanced vision system to amplify the value of digital head-up displays. The enhanced vision system overlays an image of surrounding terrain and obstacles on top of the symbology generated by the displays. It enables pilots to peer through fog, smoke, snow and other obscurants to see precisely where they are. The gain in situational awareness is impressive, making the C-130 both safer and more useful. Air Mobility Command validated a requirement two years ago for enhanced vision systems on all C-130J variants, but the requirement is unfunded. Congress can get the ball rolling on this life-saving improvement by adding $9 million to the Air Force’s research and test budget in 2021 for a demonstration of how the new technology allows airmen to pierce the fog of war. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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