Collins Aerospace [RTX] said on Oct. 24 that it has upgraded the first Chilean Air Force C-130 transport to the company eight-bladed NP2000 propelle.

“The completion of this install marks a major milestone as it serves as the first international C-130 upgraded with NP2000,” Collins Aerospace said. “Under the order, Collins will upgrade the Chilean Air Force’s C-130 fleet including C-130B, C-130E, KC-130R and C-130H model variants.”

The eight-bladed NP2000 program for C-130Hs began in 2013 subsequent to a 2004 program to put eight-bladed propellers on Northrop Grumman [NOC] E-2 and C-2 aircraft. P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft are also to receive NP2000, Collins Aerospace said. U.S. Air Force testing at Edwards AFB, Calif., of the NP2000 by Hamilton Sundstrand–now part of Collins–dates back to at least 2008.

“With its eight composite blades and the Electronic Propeller Control System (EPCS), the NP2000 propeller systems offers several benefits compared to our legacy systems including: up to 20 percent thrust increase during take-off [and 300 meters less required for take-off] approximately 20db sound reduction in the cockpit and up to 50 percent reduction in maintenance hours,” Collins Aerospace said.

The company’s announcement comes as the U.S. Air Force tries to get its C-130H transports back in the air. Air Mobility Command (AMC) grounded 116 of the aircraft last month after maintainers at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex at Robins AFB, Ga., found cracks in the propeller barrel assembly of one C-130H, which has four, aluminum 54H60 propellers by Hamilton Sundstrand.

In September last year, Collins said that the Air Force planned to retrofit most of its C-130H fleet with NP2000 and that the service had ordered 83 NP2000s and installed the system on 16 Air Force C-130Hs, including those assigned to Air National Guard units in Georgia, Nevada and Wyoming.

AMC said on Oct. 25 that 42 C-130Hs have received NP2000 so far. The command said that it does not plan to retrofit 22 C-130Hs that it plans to retire.