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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web

  • Casey

    In preparation for exercise Vigilant Ace 18, three U.S. Air Force Bases: Yokota Air Base, Japan, Dyess AFB, TX, and Little Rock AFB, AR, came together to provide airlift support for the annual exercise, Vigilant Ace 18 .

    Vigilant Ace 18, is a large scale annual exercise between the US and the Republic of Korea aimed at providing realistic air combat training to test and refine readiness and interoperability between the two partnering forces. The exercise also helps to build on the strong relationship between the two allies and demonstrates the commitment and resolve of the US to the region’s stability.

    Due to Yokota transitioning from the C-130H Hercules to the C-130J Super Hercules, Dyess and Little Rock AFB each sent a C-130J with support crews to assist the 374th Operations Group with this year’s bilateral exercise.

    “Not only are the aircrews from the other bases helping the 374 OG maximize its participation while halfway through its J-model transition,” said Col Mark Mullarkey, 374 OG commander. “But they are also building their own experience to carry home by training with us in a simulated high-end, contested environment to include demonstrating their ability to survive & operate C-130J aircraft in a chemical environment.”

    The support the Air Mobility Command has given the Pacific Air Forces during the exercise was needed to help offset the work load on Yokota’s aircrews during the exercise’s increased operations tempo. In one day of pre-exercise preparation, the 374 OG organized 13 missions with 39 sorties and more to come as the exercise continues.

    “Those two extra tails are the insurance plan we needed,” said Mullarkey. “The additional crews will help us push crew turn times from 14-15 hours to 21 hours, and ease the circadian rhythm shifts on the aircrews.”

    The goal of military exercises is to make the simulated missions as real as possible while keeping a safe environment for the participants. To ensure safe flying, the USAF aircrews are required to take a “crew rest,” between flights. While this can limit operations tempo it greatly reduces the risk of airborne incidents by allowing aircrew personnel time to sleep and decompress between missions.

    While Dyess and Little Rock AFB came to assist Yokota, they will also take back with them knowledge and experience from participating in the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear portion of the exercise.

    “Yokota does a lot more CBRN training then we traditionally do in the states,” said Capt. Kyle Schneider, 40th Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot. “So we are going to take any tips in the process Yokota follows and bring that information back to integrate with our future exercises.”

  • Casey

    Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. announced today that it was selected by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) to provide and operate flight simulators for the upgraded C-130H and C-130J transport aircraft of the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The contract is worth $74 million over a 13-year period which includes a set up phase of three years and a ten-year operating period.
      Elbit Systems will set up and operate the IAF upgraded C-130H and C-130J training center, providing two inter-connected flight simulators that enable both single and squadron training and a ground crews simulator that enables high fidelity training of aircraft maintenance procedures.
    Elbit Systems Aerospace Division general manager Yoram Shmuely said, "We are proud to have been selected by the IMOD, especially since it comes on the heels of the successful completion of the upgrade program of the IAF's C-130H aircraft fleet. This is yet another example of Elbit Systems' technological and operational leadership in the training and simulation field and attests to the growing demand in many countries for all-inclusive interconnected simulation platforms that enhance the quality of training while reducing flight hours."

  • Casey

    Two military MQ-9 Reaper drones and two C-130J Hercules aircraft have joined local authorities in battling Southern California wildfires, which are being fanned by high winds and have jumped highways to destroy homes and burn a path to the Pacific ocean, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
    The two Air Force Reserve Reapers from the 163rd Attack Wing, flying out of March Air Reserve Base near Moreno Valley, California, are being used for surveillance and employing their infrared systems to detect hot spots, said Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.
    The Reapers' infrared sensors yielded mission-critical thermal imagery on the afflicted area in real-time," according to a base release. "Airmen have mapped vast perimeters of six fires across four counties, encompassing some 77,000 acres and identifying some 1,500 burned structures."
    Two C-130J aircraft from the 146th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard, flying out of Channel Islands Air National Guard Station near Oxnard, California, have Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) aboard to drop retardant on blazes that are still out of control.
    The wildfires centered in Ventura County have forced about 27,000 residents to flee, local officials said, and Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.
    At least 150 structures have been destroyed, officials said, and thousands of homes are at risk.
    "This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got," Brown said. "It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so."

  • Casey

    A C-130H Hercules aircraft arrived on the flightline of Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, on Nov. 29, 2017, with no intention of leaving. The plane is being absorbed into the 16th Special Operations Squadron’s repertoire to more easily manage pilot training proficiencies, in addition to other positives.

    “The purpose of gaining the C-130H is to facilitate aircrew training and free up our combat coded aircraft to perform their primary missions,” said Maj. Carrie Kerner, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron operations officer.

    Cannon AFB has been managing missions and training using AC-130W Stinger IIs, which provide a similar experience, but with unnecessary complexity.

    “This is our first and only C-130H at Cannon,” Kerner said. “We refer to this as a ‘slick’ C-130 because it doesn’t have the additional capabilities and equipment that our AC-130Ws have been modified for, like the 105mm cannon and 30mm gun. The AC-130W is essentially a heavily modified C-130H, in high demand and short supply.”

    While the AC-130W is an incredible gunship, using it to maintain training is not the best use of this aircraft, hosting millions of dollars in upgrades over the C-130H. These upgrades increase maximum combat capabilities, though are not necessary for maintaining pilot proficiencies.

    “From a maintenance perspective, the C-130H is simpler and cheaper to maintain,” Kerner said. “Plus, when the C-130H is down for maintenance repairs, there is no impact to our alert commitment or deployment rotations.”

    Overall, the addition of a C-130H Hercules to Cannon AFB will provide the base and the 16th SOS with a welcome increase in proficiency capabilities while also increasing mission strength and readiness.

    “Nothing spurs creativity and ingenuity more than seeing an idea go from the bottom up and gain traction so quickly,” said Lt. Col. Adam Moore, 16th SOS Commander. “With this aircraft, we will be able to provide critical pilot proficiency to allow our mission AC-130W aircraft to focus on tactical training, and ensure we have the squadron ready to execute the nation's most difficult missions at all times.”
    C-130H 82-0056 c/n 4971

  • Casey

    The US Coast Guard (USCG) has received its 11th C-130J Super Hercules long range surveillance aircraft from Lockheed Martin, the USCG announced on 29 November.
    The aircraft was delivered in its baseline configuration. It will now move to the L3 Technologies Integrated Systems Platform Integration division to undergo installation of the Minotaur mission system suite.
    The aircraft will receive USCG-specific integrated radar, sensor and communications systems, after which it will be redesignated as an HC-130J.
    Out of total ten aircraft delivered, seven HC-130Js are operating out of Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, three with Minotaur and four with the legacy mission system. Three aircraft have entered the Minotaur mission system suite modification program, with the next missionised aircraft delivery scheduled for 2018.
    Production of C-130Js 12-14 is currently ongoing, with delivery of two aircraft expected in 2019 and one in 2020.
     
    HC-130J 2011 c/n 5830

  • Casey

    Lockheed Martin has displayed a model of the C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft for the Royal Thai Air Force, SC-130J Sea Hercules maritime patrol aircraft, F-16V (Viper) Fighting Falcon fighter for Royal Thai Air Force, T-50A trainer and F.

    Lockheed Martin USA has exhibited the drawings and models of the four C-130J helicopter turbofan engines. Super Hercules marked with the Royal Thai Air Force, as well as other aircraft models at the Yothody Defense and Security 2017 at Impact Exhibition Center, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 November.

    The Royal Thai Air Force has demanded a new tactical transport aircraft in the future to replace the 8th C-130H and C-130H-30 Squadron 601 Squadrons. In 1980, Lockheed Martin C-130J was scheduled to be operational in 2020. The Lockheed Martin C-130J was the perfect replacement for the 8 C -130H of the Royal Thai Air Force. Based on the capacity and the number of users who have exported almost. 300 machines in the army than 20 countries worldwide,
    Lockheed Martin had on display a model other air their planes, patrol marine SC-130J Sea Hercules developed the basic C-130J replaces the P-3 Orion is an old product of the closed production lines. gone Proposed to the country where the procurement project. Marine Surveys For example, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF: TDAA: Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia) suspended the procurement of new aircraft. And to focus on the maritime patrol aircraft to replace air fighter F-16V Viper latest armed missile, air-to-air launcher. AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, and Laser Paveway III missile.

    The T-50A, which competed in the replacement T-38 Talon, replaced the US Air Force and F-35A Lightning II. Today, many production lines are exported to many countries around the world.

    However, a Lockheed Martin representative declined to comment on the possibility of the C-130J's opportunity with the Royal Thai Air Force. Other products include aircraft company in Thailand and the ASEAN countries as it corresponds to the interviews of the ACM Central Thailand dawn air commander said. The Royal Thai Air Force has no plans to procure the C-130J because it is very expensive. It will extend the life and improve the 8 C-130H to continue to use it for a long time.

  • Casey

    A Hercules C130 transport aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Air Force made a successful belly landing at the airport here after experiencing a landing gear fault, the RMAF said in a statement.
    The aircraft made the emergency landing at 5.15pm after circling for six hours to burn off fuel, it said, adding that the pilot and crew were unhurt.
    The statement did not say what the aircraft was transporting or where it had come from.
    Labuan airport has been closed indefinitely.
    Airport manager Ahmad Fikri Samsudi told Bernama that 11 fights to and from Kota Kinabalu, Miri and Kuala Lumpur had been cancelled since 2pm. 
    C-130H-30 M30-14 
    c/n 5311      

  • Casey

    MUNIZ AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Puerto Rico – Despite the challenges of Hurricane Maria’s aftermath, the Puerto Rico Air National Guard continues to fly missions and delivered six pallets full of water bottles, diapers, electric generators, power saws and other donated supplies from the Washington D.C. area Oct. 5.

    “To be able to fly this mission for Puerto Rico – there are no words to describe the feeling,” said Major Jose Roman, who served as the aircraft commander on the C-130 Hercules aircraft for the mission. “This is what it is all about, to wear this uniform and help people in need.”

    The C-130 and its crew all hailed from the PRANG’s 156th Airlift Wing. The donations came from two different groups – individual members of the District of Columbia National Guard and members of Unidos Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico United) in the D.C. area.

    The supplies were packaged by Airmen working in several units at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Many of the Airmen who volunteered to support the effort have family in Puerto Rico or were moved by reports of the struggles on the island territory since it was hit by the storm on Sept. 20.

    “We have family and friends there. The pain they are going through – we are trying to do something to ease the pain,” said Staff. Sgt. Angela Galban, who worked with Unidos Puerto Rico to make the collection.

    Galban and other Airmen at Andrews worked late into the night to ready the pallets and other supplies for shipment.

    “We’ve sent 24 pallets so far and have about 100 more still to go,” she said. “They have come from all over the community. The chamber of commerce has contributed and many local businesses. As long as we have supplies, we will continue to send them.”

    On board the aircraft, PRANG co-pilot 1st Lt. Greg Gutierrez said the diapers included in the shipment particularly impacted him.

    “I have two sons. Anyone who has raised children know how important it is to have diapers. It just hits you when you see people you don’t even know you, making these donations,” he said.

    Staff Sgt. Patrick Pagnotta, 11thg Aerial Port Squadron, was another of the Andrews Airmen helping in the collection and delivery process.

    “Several of my wife’s family members were left homeless from the storm. Her whole family was impacted in one way or the other. Making donations, working after hours – it’s the least we can do to help out,” he said.

    Master Sgt. Nancy Rivera, a personnel specialist with the 113th Airlift Wing of the D.C. Air National Guard, took military leave time and flew on the C-130 to Puerto Rico to help see the supplies through to their final destination. After an early evening arrival at Muniz, she planned to meet a cousin who lives on Puerto Rico to help make the final leg of the delivery.

    “This is personal to me,” she said. “My family was impacted and will be receiving some of these supplies.”

    The two pilots on the mission, Roman and Gutierrez, said the mission to deliver supplies to Puerto Rico represent a highlight of their military careers.

    “Tomorrow, when they have a mission for us, we’ll go. But this one, I will always remember,” Guttierrez said.

  • Casey

    DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE – Hurricane relief efforts continued on the Dobbins flightline as forklifts and K-loaders loaded cases of water and ready-to-eat meals onto a C-130 Hercules Oct. 4.

    Aerial porters from squadrons at Dover, March, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Westover worked together to load a Mansfield Air National Guard C-130 with a total of 23,390 pounds of food and water which will be transported to Puerto Rico and distributed to those in need.

    Working together with different units on this unique mission provided an opportunity for Airmen to gain new skills in the aerial port.

    "It's different because most of our annual training and drill weekends are simulated - the what if situations - always war time and not so much humanitarian missions,” said Staff Sgt. Kens Germain, an aerial porter from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. “I've learned how to be much more flexible and how to better adapt, overcome and improvise when need be.”

    Puerto Rico underwent devastating destruction after Hurricane Maria raged through, destroying much of the island’s infrastructure.

    Dobbins is currently serving as an installation support base for Hurricanes Irma and Maria relief operations in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, providing an air and logistics hub for relief efforts.

    Supporting these efforts often results in longer work hours and constantly changing plans, but the Airmen involved are happy to give back to the communities affected by the hurricanes.

    “(This mission) gives to me the moral drive to give 200% when doing my job because I know that we're helping people in need," Germain said.

  • Casey

    The West Virginia National Guard has once again answered the Nation’s call for help this week by providing C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and crews, as well as additional ground support, for the response efforts in Puerto Rico following the devastation from Hurricane Maria.
    Approximately 32 Airmen deployed to locations in both Georgia and Puerto Rico to provide much needed assistance to the island.
    Members of the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, W.Va., deployed in late September with to provide critical airlift and airfield operations in both Georgia and Puerto Rico. To date, 167th AW crews have flown 14 sorties carrying 34 passengers and more than 180 short tons of cargo to the island delivering supplies to those in need. One WVANG member has integrated with other members of the response effort to assist with airfield management while other Airmen have been supporting air terminal operations in Savannah at the 165th Airlift Wing.
    The 167th AW air cargo specialists have helped manage the flow of resources including water, MREs, equipment and other necessary resources into and out of the large hub.
    “It was really an entire wing effort to support the ongoing recovery efforts,” said Col. Shaun Perkowski, commander of the 167th Airlift Wing. “Many of our personnel worked consecutive weekends to support operations in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. The value of airlift cannot be underestimated, but there is so much more which goes into planning and executing those missions including deploying our personnel, whether to help with cargo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania or Savannah, Georgia, which has proven to be vital to this effort. It cannot be understated that all of these efforts could not happen without the 167th’s spirit of service and volunteerism.“
     
    The 130th Airlift Wing sent a crew of nine individuals Oct. 4, 2017, to pick up supplies in New York before offloading in Georgia and flying into Puerto Rico. Aircrew from the 130th AW flew four missions to pick up and deliver much needed supplies, equipment and military personnel to the area.
     
    Col. Randy Huffman, vice wing commander of the 130th Airlift Wing said, “The 130th Airlift Wing is proud to support the ongoing relief efforts for American citizens in desperate need in Puerto Rico. Our members train daily for this and the Air National Guard is unique in that we can provide support at a moment’s notice for humanitarian assistance. The West Virginia ANG will continue to be prepared to support this ongoing mission however and whenever we are asked.”
    These two units offer distinct airlift capabilities within the WVNG, providing airlift operations in two vastly different airframes at any time.
    “Because of these strategic assets in the West Virginia National Guard, Joint Base West Virginia is a crucial hub for domestic response operations for our Nation,” said Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, The Adjutant General of the WVNG. “We answer the call when needed and there’s no one better to provide assistance to those in a time of need than highly trained West Virginians.”
    Since September, the WVNG has supported hurricane relief efforts for Harvey, Irma and Maria in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico through U.S. Army engineer and U.S. Air Force airlift, airfield operations, and air cargo support. Overall, the 167th AW flew 59 sorties carrying more than 539 short tons of cargo since Hurricane Harvey struck the coast of Texas. The 130th AW flew four sorties carrying 6.59 short tons of cargo and 16 passengers for Hurricane Maria relief. 

  • Casey
     

    MANSFIELD, Ohio – The 179th Airlift Wing sends a fourth C-130H Hercules aircraft along with a team of six Airmen from the 200th RED HORSE Squadron (RHS) and a Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU) October 6, 2017 to aid in hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

    With basic life needs such as water, food and shelter still needed, the 200th RHS has the unique abilities and capabilities to provide just that.

    Master Sgt. Isaac Strickler, a Power Production Supervisor with the 200th RHS said
    “We are taking the ROWPU to Puerto Rico, we are going down there to set it up to produce fresh drinking water for the local communities for the next several months.”

    The ROWPU provides potable water from a variety of raw water sources such as wells, lakes, seas, lagoons, rivers, oceans and ice holes. The proper use of the ROWPU can provide purified drinking water for thousands of people.

    Technical Sgt. Brock Mowry, an Electrical Power Production craftsman with the 200th RHS said, “We will be able to purify up to 1,500 gallons per hour.”

    The treatment of water is necessary to prevent various waterborne diseases, such as typhoid and dysentery. Treatment processes must control certain chemical and physical characteristics of water, such as hardness or unpleasant taste. Hence, the function of a water treatment is not only to make water safe for human consumption but also to make water more palatable, less scale forming, and more suitable for use in laundries, boiler plants, and various other places.

    Staff Sgt. Heather Swinehart, a Water and Fuels Systems Maintenance journeyman with the 200th RHS said, “We will be able to sustain as many people needed, for as long as needed, as long as we have the chemicals available for the system.”

    These Ohio Air National Guard Units are leaning forward to provide support capabilities to Puerto Rico and other areas affected by hurricane Irma and Maria; as well as, aid in the recovery and relief efforts in the area.

  • Casey

    The C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, a squadron of which has been set up here, has the capability to play an important role in case of a military conflict, Air Vice Marshal Vikram Singh said here today.

    He was speaking after viewing a spectacular para diving exercise by seven para jumper instructors from one of the six aircraft of the C-130J Hercules squadron of the IAF at the Air Force Station Arjan Singh, earlier known as Panagarh air base.
     
    AFS Arjan Singh is the base for the second C-130J Super Hercules squadron after the one at Hindon AFS near Delhi.
    "The state-of-the-art aircraft with its tactical airlift and airdrop capabilities is a huge jump," Air Vice Marshal Singh, the Air officer Commanding, Advanced Headquarter, Eastern Air Command, said.

    "In any future conflict, it will play a very important role," he said.

    Asked whether the C-130J Super Hercules will play an important role in the case of a military conflict between India and China, Air Vice Marshal Singh said, "We don't buy aircraft with one particular adversary in mind, but given its capabilities it will certainly play an important role in such a scenario."
    "The closest border with China due north is Sikkim and it will take less than an hour for the C130J to reach from here," he said when asked about the time that it might take to put up an operation.
      India and China were engaged in a bitter border standoff over the construction of a road at Doklam earlier this year that lasted close to three months.
    "It is the first transport aircraft with a head-up display which is normally found in a fighter aircraft," the Air Vice Marshal said, ahead of the 84th Air Force Day on October 8.

    A head-up display is any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints, thus saving precious time.

    "It has infra-red sensor that gives the crew a monochromatic view in front and down below and thus helps the aircraft to fly very low and with accuracy at night," he said.

  • Casey

    The journey from Washington, DC to Geneseo is a long one when you are trying to bring home an important part of our Vietnam War history.
    National Warplane Museum Treasurer Donald Wilson worked for Kodak in Rochester in the late 1960s and became a big part of the Gambit project. He locked eyes on this Vietnam War C-130 plane and wanted to bring her home. These planes first flew in 1954. They are still being produced today; which makes them the longest military aircraft production ever. They are used by about 70 nations.
    These planes also have a rich part of Kodak history. The C-130s retrieved returning film capsules from the Gambit photo recognition satellites built in Rochester. The C-130s had many uses in the air force, such as airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research, reconnaissance, aerial refueling, and aerial firefighting.
    The National Air Space Museum transferred ownership of the Lockheed C-130 to the National Warplane Museum on April 27. This plane is most famous for the role it played in saving lives during the evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. It has sat at the Dulles International Airport for over 28 years.
    The amount it would take to relocate this plane to Geneseo is a heavy one. It will cost $200,000 to move it from one museum to another. 
    “We need to get it in flyable condition, so that we can get it to Geneseo,” Wilson said. “We need volunteers to go down with us, and help us clean it up. It is too big to bring here any other way.”
    Wilson said it is really expensive to fly the C-130, so once it is here the plane will be on display with the other warplanes. 
    The connection these planes have to the museum is that National Warplane Museum Trustee Martha Wadsworth flew a C-130 to Antarctica.
    “Kodak had a government contract to design and build orbit photos from the 1960s to 1970s,” Wilson said. “I worked for Kodak on the Gambit program.”
    Wilson added that when they applied for the C-130 they didn’t think they would get it.
    “We want to preserve it and protect it,” he said. “We will display it the way the museum wants us too.”
    This C-130 helped evacuate South Vietnamese citizens, and our soldiers to keep them from being prisoners at the end of the war. 
    Hundreds of people piled into these planes to be taken to Singapore and rescued at the end of the Vietnam War. 
    Wilson said that when they got down to take a look at the plane most of the cockpit was complete, which is a very rare thing in a plane that old. 
    “People will usually steal things out of the plane,” he said. “This one is complete on the inside. It has pretty much everything. It is in great shape considering it has been outside for almost 30 years.”
    The C-130 should make its final landing at the National Warplane Museum in the Spring if all goes well.
    “This plane is an important part of history,” Wilson said. “People were saved in the last hours at Saigon. The last pilot to fly our plane was a South Vietnamese Air Force Pilot (Pham Quang Khiem) who rescued 30 members of his family. He was arrested when he landed in Singapore, and accused of hijacking the plane.”
    Wilson said that many museums only have these planes on display, and what makes National Warplane Museum unique is that they fly some of them.
    Eventually Wilson would like to bring the Gambit to the museum as well. It hasn’t been used since the 1970s, but it still has the best resolution photos of space.
    The name contest is one way Wilson is fundraising for the plane. You can choose between Freedom, Miss Saigon, Gambit, Hope, Camo, Martha, or pick your own idea. The donation with the name choice can be sent to National Warplane Museum at P.O. Box 185, Geneseo, NY, 14454 under Name This Airplane. Whatever the highest donation is will win the name of the plane. 
    Wilson said they won’t give up until the plane is safely transported to Geneseo.
    C-130A 57-0460 c/n 3167  

  • Casey

    Sabena Technics has won the contract to train AIA, Clermont-Ferrand personnel who will be maintaining the French air force's C-130Hs. The independent MRO will be providing both technical and practical training and simulation services. The agreement has been valued at 1.5 million Eur.

    SIAé will be taking charge of all maintenance operations for the French air force's fourteen C-130Hs from 1st July 2018, following a decision made in November. MOC had been provided by the Portuguese industrialist OGMA since 2002, but its services had been judged unsatisfactory, given the low plane availability rate. This rate had fallen to 22.5% in 2016 and had been struggling to reach 28.8% in 2014, according to French Ministry of Defense data.

    SIAé will also be in charge of part of the fleet overhaul project, with the installation of modernization kits planned at the same time as maintenance inspections.v

  • Casey

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For nearly a month, the Missouri National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing has been proving its value as part of the operational reserve by performing more than 100 sorties in support of hurricane relief efforts.

    When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, Airmen from the St. Joseph-based 139th were among the first called to respond with their C-130 Hercules aircraft, said Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, the Adjutant General.

    “Our Airmen were immediately ready to help their fellow Americans, first in Texas and Florida and now in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” Danner said. “Bringing people and supplies to areas hit by these storms is a critical, immediate need, and the fact our 139th was one of the first called and one of the most relied upon speaks to the wing’s professionalism and effectiveness.”

    To date, the Missouri Airmen have flown about 140 sorties in support of the relief effort, airlifting hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo. Even the wing’s commander, Col. Ed Black, has flown a C-130 to the Caribbean islands. He was among the first to land on St. Thomas after Hurricane Maria.

    “We all understand that our role is a serious one,” Black said. “We were able to land and put the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron (Kentucky Air National Guard) on the ground to open the airfield (on St. Thomas). Opening the field is critical to starting the flow of relief efforts.”

    Black also discussed the personal impact of the mission.

    “Those hills used to be green - every tree was stripped clean,” Black said. “The St. Thomas you remember is no more. It leaves an impression. It compels us to volunteer to assist in any way possible.”

    Another pilot to fly into the region was Col. Timothy P. Murphy, the 139th Operations Group commander, who had the opportunity to directly interact with local residents.

    “The resiliency of the people has been overwhelming,” Murphy said. “You see devastation all around you, no power, no timeline, yet they are still positive and just so grateful for every little thing we do. It is the attitude of everyone in the region that we encountered.”

    Currently, the 139th has about 30 service members tasked to serve in the Virgin Islands. Their role is part of a larger mission being orchestrated by the joint-service 601st Air Operations Center, a component of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command.

    Coordinating the effort on the ground is Chief Master Sgt. Rhys L. Wilson, the air cargo superintendent for the 139th. He is currently serving as the senior chief air advisor for the Virgin Islands National Guard and is overseeing the aerial port operations in St. Croix, which includes nearly 50 Guard Airmen from multiple Air National Guard wings.

    “The people here truly appreciate us,” Wilson said. “I have received more hugs from total strangers.”

    Wilson said his Airmen are excited to be part of the mission.

    “The morale is high in the aerial port,” Wilson said. “They are working well downloading the airplanes and assisting the Army uploading trucks.”

    Additionally, the National Guard Bureau has set up an aerial port in Savannah, Georgia, to coordinate Air National Guard assets flying into the region. The missions range from troop transportation to the delivery of food, water, generators, medical supplies and other needed supplies.

    Impressively, even as the 139th supported hurricane relief operations, they continued normal business and contributed greatly to a state mission in Missouri and have deployed Airmen abroad.

    “I’m very impressed with what our Airmen have accomplished these past few weeks,” Danner said. “Even as they flew sorties to support fellow Americans affected by hurricanes, they mobilized dozens of members to support efforts for a recent mobilization to St. Louis and have deployed dozens of Airmen in support of overseas contingencies operations. Like the rest of the Missouri Guard, the 139th is a versatile, seasoned, ready force.”
     

  • Casey

    Members of the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, are providing maintenance to C-130J aircraft at MacDill Air Force Base, in the midst of relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Maria.
    In addition to the 19th AMXS, the 61st Airlift Squadron and 41st Airlift Squadron aircrews were deployed to MacDill AFB to support aeromedical evacuations from of Puerto Rico in the wake of the hurricane.
    Since arriving at MacDill AFB, maintenance operations have been running 24/7.
    “We have been conducting inspections on aircraft every 72 hours to ensure they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice,” said Master Sgt. Michael Raver, 19 AMXS aircraft section chief. “Inspections entail looking over tires, fuel, systems and even preparing oxygen tanks for patients during aeromedical evacuation missions.”
    Thirty-two members of the 19th AMXS make up approximately 75 percent of the C-130 maintainer workforce at MacDill AFB. Little Rock Airmen work alongside members from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to provide maintenance to three Little Rock AFB C-130s, two C-130s from Dyess AFB and Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.
    “Contributing to the aeromedical evacuation mission like this is very rewarding,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Frederick, 19th AMXS integrated avionics system specialist. “We’re making sure people have the resources to bring those affected by Hurricane Maria to safety and get the medical attention they need.”

  • Casey
     
    A 302nd Airlift Wing aerial firefighting C-130 Hercules aircraft returned here after seven weeks of Reserve Citizen Airmen supporting U.S. Forest Service firefighting efforts in the Western U.S., Sept. 17.
    The 302nd AW began Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System operations after receiving a request for assistance from the National Interagency Firefighting Center July 27. The NIFC request came due to elevated fire activity throughout California, Great Basin, the Northwest and Northern Rockies geographic areas.
    While activated, the 302nd AW operated out of Fresno Air Attack Base, California. There they joined federally-activated MAFFS-equipped C-130s from the Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing, Reno, Nevada, and the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, based in Cheyenne. Earlier in July, the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing provided MAFFS support while based out of Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, California, flying missions under a state activation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
    Together, the Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd AW and Air National Guard MAFFS wings supported fire suppression missions that took them to more than two dozen fires throughout California.
    “In talking to (U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and CalFire) lead pilots and other personnel in civil agencies, we were effective and helped contain many fires,” said Lt. Col. Luke Thompson, the 302nd AW chief of aerial firefighting. “Thanks to the crews who waited through the slow days in Fresno. We needed to be used in order to maintain proficiency. It was good we were able to be there when the activity picked back up.”
    The C-130 crews flew 293 sorties in 2017, dropping more than 820,000 gallons of retardant in 315 drops, all on California fires.
    Throughout the operation, approximately 50 aircrew, aircraft maintainers and support personnel from all four MAFFS wing’s supported the MAFFS Air Expeditionary Group mission in Fresno as well as at the NIFC headquarters in Boise, Idaho.
    “With aircraft already at a premium to fulfill the wing’s commitments, maintenance once again juggled their schedule to make aircraft available for firefighting," said Thompson.
    The 302nd AW also supported MAFFS efforts in other ways throughout 2017. Aircrew members provided MAFFS instruction to Nevada ANG personnel who this year, were going into their second year of MAFFS missions. The 302nd AW also provided command and administrative support to the MAFFS Air Expeditionary Group in Boise.
    “Thanks to everyone who participated while deployed, and for supporting the mission from back home by dropping their normal duties and quickly responding to the MAFFS activation,” said Thompson.
    The MAFFS-equipped C-130s are operated by four military airlift wings: 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; the 152nd Airlift Wing, Nevada Air National Guard, 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado (Air Force Reserve Command).
     
    MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system, owned by the U.S. Forest Service, that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.


  • Casey

    The C130's four propeller engines scream as it lifts lifts off from MacDill Air Force base in Tampa. The plane is loaded with pallets of medical supplies bound for St. Croix, nine days after the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.
    But the flight's true mission is getting patients in critical need of health care off the island and into hospitals in Columbia, South Carolina and Atlanta.
    So far, hundreds of patients have been brought to those hospitals along with facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi.
    Capt. Michael Plash is in charge of the flight crew. He spoke from the plane's flight deck on the approach to St. Croix. 
    "It's a massive operation that's going on. We have aircraft in and out, left and right, I mean it's crazy."
    It's the crew's second mission to the island in three days. Maria blew down buildings, disfigured trees and left a field of debris across St. Croix. Much of the island is without power and running water.
    Four hours after taking off, the C130 touches down.
    The engines keep running as a forklift removes the pallets of supplies.
    The crew then quickly converts the plane's fuselage into a mobile emergency room. Stretchers stacked three high run down the spine. Bags of medical equipment hang from the walls. Machines monitor vital signs.
    Nine patients, some in wheelchairs, others on stretchers, board the plane  and the medical staff starts caring for them.
    Capt. Keri Lord-Morales leads the medical crew of flight nurses, doctors and a special critical care team.
    "We have patients who have chronic illnesses that require dialysis and we have other things such as wounds that we are dealing with and mental health issues as well," says Lord-Morales. 
    Earl Shervington, is one of the dialysis patients heading to the mainland. The 61-year-old, who was born and raised in St. Croix, has failing kidneys and depends on machines to clean his blood three times a day.
    Sitting on a stretcher inside the C130, Shervington says officials feared the hospital where he received dialysis would lose generator power. "So what the government decided is to ship us out to somewhere that we can seek better help, which I think was a very good decision and a very good idea," he says. 
    Lord-Morales says treating patients in the air comes with challenges that caregivers don't have on the ground. There's lower oxygen levels, temperature fluctuations and vibrations that can effect pain. "Those can affect their entire well-being and can change their status at any time," she explains. 
    The members of the medical crew are reservists and many were working at hospitals throughout Florida when they got the call to serve.
    Capt. Sandy Mandell is a trauma nurse at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Much like the staff in an emergency room, she says, the medial flight team doesn't typically know what types of patients they'll be treating ahead of time. "We were told we were getting one patient load on the way down and we showed up and it completely changed, so flexibility is like a huge part of our job."
    During the flight, a nurse on the plane coordinates with the hospitals in South Carolina. When the C130 touches down in Columbia, crews on the ground take over. A second trip to Atlanta an hour later drops off the remaining patients. 
    After roughly 12 hours of work, the crew can rest for the night. The next day, the team returns to MacDill. There, another crew is already set to go, ready to rescue another group of patients.

  • Casey

    Seven Special Tactics Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard departed the Kentucky ANG base, Louisville, Sept. 20, 2017, for the Caribbean where they will open airfields for humanitarian aid deliveries and resident evacuations in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the third major hurricane to hit the region in the past month.

    A four-man team from the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron arrived in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Sept. 21, while a three-man team from the same unit is scheduled to arrive in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, the same day, said Chief Master Sgt. Aaron May, the squadron’s enlisted manager for combat control.

    The mission of both teams is the same: clear the airfields of debris, open runways and taxiways and establish air traffic control so military airlift can begin. The teams are prepared, if necessary, to parachute into the fields with chainsaws so they can remove fallen trees and other obstacles, allowing the C-130 Hercules that brought them to land safely and begin offloading rescue gear.

    The Airmen also deployed with trucks, motorcycles and inflatable motorboats to assist with rescue operations, May said.

    “(This) deployment marks the third time in the past month that Kentucky Air National Guardsmen have mobilized in support of hurricane rescue operations in the Caribbean,” said Col. David Mounkes, 123rd Airlift Wing commander, parent unit to the 123rd STS. “Our Airmen stand ready at all times to answer the call for help, and we are tremendously grateful to be able to provide this assistance again. Our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of these islands as they continue to weather an unprecedented hurricane season.”

    The Kentucky ANG deployed more than 80 Airmen to Texas for Hurricane Harvey, establishing an aeromedical evacuation hub and saving 333 residents stranded by floodwaters in the Houston area. The unit later deployed 24 Airmen for rescue operations following Hurricane Irma, helping evacuate more than 1,000 U.S. citizens from the Dutch Caribbean Island of St. Maarten.

  • Casey

    After flying halfway around the world, a C-130J Super Hercules arrived at Yokota Air Base, Japan from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Sept. 20, 2017. This is the fifth C-130J delivered to Yokota since March. Yokota will receive 14 C-130Js as it modernized its existing fleet. The C-130J is the latest version of the Hercules, entering the Air Force inventory in February 1999. The aircraft has a six-bladed composite propeller coupled to a Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 turbo engine and brings substantial performance improvements.
     

  • Casey

    The U.S. Air Force plans to declare its newest gunship, the AC-130J Ghostrider, ready for combat — or initial operating capability (IOC) in acquisition parlance — this month, but the aircraft won’t actually deploy to a war zone for a couple more years, a general said.
    “We are declaring IOC, Initial Operating Capability, this month on the AC-J,” Lt. Gen. Marshall “Brad” Webb, head of Air Force Special Operations Command, said Tuesday during a briefing with reporters at the Air Force Association’s annual conference outside Washington, D.C.
    However, the general added, “That doesn’t mean anything with respect to putting it in combat — we’re still just shy of two years away from wanting to put those in combat.”
    The reason for the delay is because the high pace of operations in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria makes it difficult to train special operators on the new weapon system, Webb said.
    “We’re not waiting around,” he said. “This is a fully configured gunship … The challenge that we have, it’s my problem, is how do we fight the current fight — we have gunships deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria — and use those same people to convert into a new weapon system?
    “We’re not going to have the luxury of doing what most normal units do,” he added, referring to the typical transition period for returning troops. ”
    “So how do I navigate having some capability in the fight, transition those same guys in those same squadrons to a new weapon system, and then build them up at the same time?” Webb said. “So that draws out the timeline from IOC of airframes to train the guys who come back from combat into a new weapon system, have them have a deployed-dwell time to make sure that they’re going to have families at the end of their 20-year career, then bring them back on the battlefield in the Js.”
    A heavily modified C-130, the AC-130J features fully integrated digital avionics, as well as a “Precision Strike Package.”
    The latter includes a mission management console, robust communications suite, two electro-optical/infrared sensors, advanced fire control equipment, precision guided munitions delivery capability as well as trainable 30mm and 105mm weapons, according to the Air Force.
    The cannons can be mounted on both sides of the aircraft.
    The Air Force currently has 10 of the Ghostriders and plans to buy a total of 37 from manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp., the general said.
    The service recently retired the AC-130H and, as of last fiscal year, had a total of 31 AC-130s in the fleet, including three Ghostriders, 16 Spookys and 12 Stinger IIs, according to information compiled by the Air Force Association.

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