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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web

A decade ago, the 463rd Airlift Group received its first combat-ready C-130J Super Hercules linking Air Mobility Command to a proud 51-year legacy of flying the Air Force’s cargo workhorse.
Sweeping changes have come to the base since then as the 19th Airlift Wing absorbed the 463rd AG and assumed command in 2008 from the 314th Airlift Wing, changing the base from an Air Education and Training Command asset to an AMC one.
(Ret.) U.S. Air Force Gen. Duncan McNabb, then AMC commander, delivered AMC’s first J model to Col. John Gomez, then 463rd AG commander.
"The quantum leap of capability provided by the J model allows us to go higher, faster and further with more cargo as we respond to crises around the world," Gomez said.
In the initial stages of transition from legacy H-model C-130s, technicians struggled with the differences of the J model and its capabilities.
“As an aircraft electrical and environmental systems Airman, it was difficult to transition since I had 12 years of experience on the older models,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James Vehlies, 19th Maintenance Group chief inspector. “After some on-the-job training, talking with our Lockheed Martin service reps and applying what I knew about the older models, the aircraft and job became easier, and I was asked to represent AMC in helping transition Yokota Air Force Base to the C-130Js.”
The enhanced reliability of the aircraft decreased the workload required of many maintenance specialties.
“Over the years, the platform has proven itself to be extremely capable and reliable in both in-garrison and deployed operations,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Doggett, 19th Maintenance Squadron accessory flight chief. “The C-130J is much easier to maintain than legacy C-130s because of its diagnostics system which decreases repair times and makes the aircraft available to be flown more often.”
As the C-130J mission prepares mobility forces for tomorrow, Little Rock Air Force Base personnel are poised to use the strong legacy of air power to prepare for future missions.
"No one has a stronger track record of expanding the envelope or increasing our theater airlift capability to support the warfighter than the men and women of Little Rock Air Force Base," Gomez said.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is to equip six new Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft equipped with the Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), it was disclosed on 15 March.
A solicitation posted by the US Air Force (USAF) on the US Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) calls for the delivery of six C-130Js with the terrain elevation data for the TAWS. This TAWS subscription will run for 40 months starting 31 May 2017 through 31 August 2020, and will likely be renewed after.
As noted in the solicitation, the aircraft will be fielded by 87 Squadron based at Air Force Station (AFS) Arjan Singh (formerly Panagarh airbase) in the Burdwan district of West Bengal. 87 Squadron is not currently operational, and would be stood-up to receive these aircraft.
Responses to the solicitation should be submitted no later than 4:00PM EST 30 March.
The IAF currently fields four C-130Js, having ordered six in 2008. One aircraft was lost in an accident in March 2014 (a replacement was announced, but not approved), and in February of this year a second was severely damaged while taxiing at Thoise airfield in Ladakh. The current C-130J fleet is operated by 77 Squadron based at AFS Hindon, near the capital New Dehli.
These latest six aircraft that are being solicited were contracted in December 2013 for USD1.1 billion. As with the current fleet, these aircraft will be fitted with defensive aids, Indian-specific communication systems, and chin-mounted electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turrets.
The life extension project included the refurbishment of the aircraft center wings, refurbishment or replacement of other structural component, a major rewire, replacement of avionics systems, flight management, autopilot and navigation and communications suites.
The work will ensure that the aircraft continue to comply with evolving air traffic control regulations worldwide.
The upgrade project of the five-strong fleet began in 2010 in Canada. The project was moved to New Zealand, with the Ministry of Defense taking over management, when the Canadian contractor - L-3 Communications Spar Aerospace - ceased operations. The final aircraft were upgraded by a team led by Graeme Gilmore with the support of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Aviation Labor Group as the principal labor provider, and Safe Air providing support services to the project.
The upgraded aircraft have already been in use with deployments to the Middle East as part of Operation Team, and assisting with the recovery efforts following Cyclone Winston in Fiji earlier last year.
After more than 50 years of faithful service and rescue missions spanning the globe, King 52, the first HC-130P/N configured for Air Force rescue in 1964, retired March 6, 2017.

Accompanied by its 920th Rescue Wing dedicated crew chiefs and a nostalgic aircrew, the aircraft, tail number 64-14852 c/n 4036 , heads to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, from Patrick AFB, Florida, where it has been stationed since mid-2015.

“It was about to retire when we acquired it from Moody Air Force Base,(Georgia),” said Tech. Sgt. Norberto Nieves, a 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron expeditor and former crew chief to King 52. “It was a work horse; that’s for sure.”

“It’s sad to see it go,” the San Juan, Puerto Rico, native continued. “As crew chiefs, we dedicate a lot of time, sweat, and sometimes blood to these aircraft. They become a part of us.”

Tech. Sgt. Matthew White, a 720th AMXS King 52’s dedicated crew chief, said while the aircraft was out of commission with a major maintenance issue for a good portion of the time he had it, he’s still upset to see it retire.

“Like Nieves said, these aircraft become a part of you and it’s tough to see something you’ve worked so hard on go into retirement,” said White, a Spokane, Washington, native. “The most rewarding part of being a dedicated crew chief is seeing the aircraft you spent so many hours on takeoff and come back home safe and sound.”

During its time at Patrick AFB, King 52 flew local training missions as well as missions to Key West, Florida, and across the country to Davis-Monthan AFB.

Maj. Nick Philpitt, the 920th Rescue Wing Inspector General Inspections chief and an HC-130 navigator, said he flew King 52 a handful of times and is honored to be part of the aircraft’s final flight.

“I haven't flown a lot of missions with #52; however, it is somewhat sentimental to be flying her to retirement denoting it's the end of an era,” said Philpitt, an Orlando, Florida, native. “Like a classic car that you've owned and driven, an airplane become(s) an extension of you. Putting it to bed for the last time is moving."

King 52's career ends with the Air Force Materiel Command’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, where it will be stored in the “boneyard” with other retired military and government aircraft.

As for the 920th RQW’s HC-130P/N maintenance crews, they continue to work hard at home and abroad ensuring the fleet is rescue-ready.

The HC-130P/N is the only dedicated fixed-wing combat search and rescue platform in the Air Force inventory.

The mission of the HC-130P/N "King" is to rapidly deploy to austere airfields and denied territory in order to execute, all weather personnel recovery operations anytime, anywhere. King crews routinely perform high and low altitude personnel and equipment airdrops, infiltration/exfiltration of personnel, helicopter air-to-air refueling, and forward area refueling point missions. When tasked, the aircraft also conducts humanitarian assistance operations, disaster response, security cooperation/aviation advisory, emergency aeromedical evacuation, casualty evacuation, and noncombatant evacuation operations.
Dozens of airmen with the Montana Air National Guard are now back home with their loved ones after their first major deployment since the 120th Airlift Wing transitioned from fighter jets to C-130 cargo planes.
This was the airmen's first large-scale deployment since completing the two and a half year conversion process in October. 
During the deployment, the Guardsmen were assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing and participated in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Flight crews delivered supplies and personnel throughout the region to military units fighting ISIS.
MSgt Jason Caldwell of the 120th Maintenance Squadron said, "I told every one of our workers and everybody around you should not go home and feel like you didn't do what you went here to do. We accomplished everything and then some."
Caldwell says that they flew a lot with the fighters but with how they were preforming mission they were just as busy or busier with the C-130’s.
The mission often required the C-130 crews to operate in dangerous regions, but crewmembers say the airmen went above and beyond to successfully complete their mission. 
CMSgt Steven Lynch, the 120th Airlift Wing Command Chief, explained that the MT ANG is flying one of the oldest versions of the C-130’s, and he is proud of what the men and women did on their first time on deployment with this mission.
Chief Lynch said, "Delivering record amount of cargo, record amount of personnel, flew a record amount of hours, and our maintenance stats. The ability of our maintenance folks to provide the resources to our operations was outstanding." 
SMSgt Mike Donahue of the 120th Operational Support Squadron noted, "As Montanans, that's what we do. We try to go and show who we are and what we are made of. To have a chip on our shoulder, go do the job, and do the best we can. This job, you are always learning, and we learned a ton. This is just going to compound for later. We are just going to keep getting better and better."
Caldwell and Donahue have both been with the Montana Air National Guard as they have moved from F-16s, to the F-15s, and now the C-130 Hercules.
“It was different for me because of my career field. I was a maintainer then and now I am actually overseeing. For me it was different to be at a lot of the meetings, answering a lot of questions and trying to relay everything down to the worker level,” Caldwell said.
On the bright, chilly morning of March 5, a small crowd of onlookers and well-wishers listened to the sound of the Alaska Air National Guard's C-130H Hercules turboprops recede into the distance for the last time.

The wing's divesture of the last of the 144th Airlift Squadron's C-130s marks a sea change for the organization, one of the nation's largest and busiest Air Guard wings. Since 1957, its tactical airlift aircraft - first C-47 Skytrains and later C-123 Providers -- have been at the heart of the its varied missions. The first C-130s, "E" models, arrived in 1976, followed seven years later by the updated "H" models. For more than four decades, these blunt-nosed turboprops have been familiar sights in Alaska's skies, their rugged design and short-airfield capabilities serving the state well.

Now, U.S. Air Force structure changes included in the 2017 Presidential Budget have divested the Alaska Air National Guard of its eight "legacy" C-130H Hercules aircraft and the tactical airlift mission. As such, these aircraft have, one by one, been transferred to other state Guard units or retired from service.

"With over four decades of incredible service, today's C-130 departures mark a significant milestone for the 176th Wing," said Col. Steve deMilliano, commander of the 176th Wing. "Their aircrews and maintainers have served with honor and distinction. This 70th Anniversary year for the United States Air Force highlights that aircraft and missions will eventually change, and our Airmen are the constant ensuring mission success. Despite any bittersweet feelings we may have with the final two C-130H aircraft departing today, we're excited to see our dedicated airmen embracing the opportunities of the future to begin writing yet another successful chapter in our Wing's proud history. Our nation and state know they can count on us being ready whenever called upon."

A March 4 ceremony and barbecue provided current and former crews and maintainers the opportunity to share memories and inspect the wing's two remaining C-130s for the last time. They unanimously praised the airframe's famed versatility.

"I've been all the way down to Montevideo, Uruguay and Cape Town, South Africa," said Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Robert Paulson, a former C-130 crew chief who attended the event. "It [the C-130] did so many things - anything to support the goals of our country."

The divestiture of the C-130s and their tactical airlift mission still leaves the 176th Wing as one of the most operationally engaged Air Guard organizations -- its missions include the rescue triad, comprising HH-60 Pavehawk Helicopters, HC-130 J-models, and Guardian Angel pararescuemen; inter-agency rescue coordination; U.S. airspace monitoring and defense; and a full complement of agile combat support. Since 2007 these missions have also included strategic airlift, which the wing's 249th Airlift Squadron accomplishes via a classic association with the Air Force's 517th Airlift Squadron. ("Classic association" denotes a relationship in which active-component and Air National Guard Airmen work together as total force partners in accomplishing the mission, but the active-duty Air Force owns the airframes.) This association is in the process of converting to an "active" association, with the 249th assuming ownership of the airframes.

176th Wing and squadron leaders appreciate that mission changes present new opportunities.

"We know that the future depends on continuing to change and adapt," commented 144th Commander Lt. Col. Michael Cummings.
Members of Team Yokota came out to welcome the first of 14 C-130J Super Hercules being assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing during an arrival ceremony held at Yokota Air Base, Japan, March 6, 2017. 14-5807 c/n 5807

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Dillon, PACAF vice commander, along with U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth Moss, 374th Airlift Wing commander, accompanied the aircraft on the final leg of its journey from Kadena Air Base, Japan to Yokota Air Base, its new home in the Pacific. Upon landing, it received a raucous greeting from a combined Japanese and American audience, anxious to get a firsthand look at the future of tactical airlift in the region.

“I’m very excited about us receiving the aircraft because it allows us to do a lot more around the Pacific,” said Senior Airman Alex Lauher, 374th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “It’s a step toward the future. It enables us to better help with things like humanitarian missions by carrying more food, water and supplies to those areas.”

The new aircraft, assigned to the 374th AW, will eventually replace the unit’s existing C-130H fleet, which has been in service for nearly 30 years. The transition is part of an Air Force-wide effort to modernize the entire active duty C-130 fleet. It effectively closes a strong chapter in airlift history, as the H model has been in active duty service since 1974.
The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology to reduce manpower requirements, lower operating and support costs, and provide life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models.

Compared to older C-130s, the J model climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance.

Yokota’s C-130s will also be 15 feet longer, increasing usable space and providing the ability to rapidly transport critical supplies, personnel and equipment around the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Much like its H-model older brother, the C-130J will be used to support critical peacekeeping and contingency operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, including cargo delivery, troop transport, airdrop and aeromedical missions. The aircraft provides significant performance improvements and added operational capabilities that translate directly into increased effectiveness. Some of these attributes include the ability to:
• Operate out of 2,000 ft.-long dirt strips in high mountain ranges.
• Carry 164,000 pound payload
• Travel 14% faster than the H-model
• Travel 2000 miles
• Perform in-flight refueling, ground fueling, weather reconnaissance, electronic warfare, medical evacuation, search and rescue, paradrop, special operations and many other missions.
• Generate much greater operational efficiencies. The C-130J outperforms older C-130s in combat operations by at least a two-to-one margin.
• Operate with only three crew members for most missions, exposing fewer flight crew members to potential combat threats.
• Demonstrate reliability that far exceeds most other military aircraft with average mission capable rates routinely in the 80 to 90 percent range.

While this is only the first of the new J-model aircraft to arrive at Yokota, members of the 374th AW are already excited about continuing the mission with the new capabilities.

“Today marks the beginning of the transition for the 374th Airlift Wing, from operating the C-130 from models E through H, to now operating the world’s most advanced tactical airlifter, the C-130J,” Moss said. “We will continue to be the most important base in the Pacific for projecting airpower throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific Region and the C-130J is going to be key to that piece. It is part of what we do every day.”
Air National Guardsmen from the 120th and 182nd Airlift Wings departed for home this week following a four-month deployment at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
During their deployment, the Airmen were assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen where they successfully delivered cargo downrange at a record breaking pace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition mission aimed at defeating ISIS. 
Their missions while deployed was flying and maintaining multiple C-130 Hercules aircraft. Some of the records they broke included the most hours flown hours since October 2012 and most passengers moved in recorded history from their location. This was accomplished by a team of Citizen Airmen working tirelessly to complete the mission.   
“The guys I have worked with here are outstanding,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Rudebeck, 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron pilot, deployed from the 182nd Airlift Wing. “Their level of professionalism and dedication is second to none.”
In order to keep the C-130 mission fully functional and off the ground, knowledgeable maintenance Airmen worked day and night to identify and fix potential issues.
Airman 1st Class John Rayyan, 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Maintenance Unit aircraft environmental electrician, deployed from the 182nd Airlift Wing, did his part to make sure the aircraft were working properly.
“Without the components the aircraft wouldn’t be able to fly, so if anything goes bad with those components, I am there to fix it,” said Rayyan.
This team also achieved their unit’s best mission completion rate since 2015. This was accomplished through close integration between the aircrew and the AMU. Pilots like Rudebeck recognized the importance of working alongside these maintainers. 
“Those guys are spot on and always have a spare jet ready for us to go so we can still get the mission off on time,” said Rudebeck.
The flying missions often brought the aircraft to rough environments. This resulted in a need for constant upkeep of the C-130s.
“These planes take a beating, and there is always maintenance that goes along with it,” said Rudebeck. “The maintenance guys are challenged in ways they are not challenged at home station.”
The Guardsmen all expressed pride in the accomplishments they achieved and the records they broke through their hard work.
“One that sticks out the best is our hours flown,” said Tech. Sgt. Taylor Thoroughman, 386th EAMXS AMU crew chief, deployed from the 120th Airlift Wing. “Not only are we not breaking the aircraft, but when they do break we are getting them back fully mission capable within the allotted time they give us.”
These Airmen will go back home knowing they did their part in sending ammunition, food, personnel and other necessary cargo downrange in the fight against ISIS.
“That is the most rewarding thing,” said Thoroughman.
More than a year since news broke that Air Force Special Operations Command planned to install and test lasers on its fabulously lethal AC-130 Gunships, the plan now is to get its top unfunded requirement tested within a year.
Lt Gen Brad Webb, head of AFSOC, told me that was now the plan. General Atomics and other companies have been spending their own research and development (IRAD) money on the capability, as we reported in late 2015.
AFSOC is eager to run tests so it can determine whether the laser is effective and to demonstrate to possible skeptics that it works. “Can we control the beam accurately? There’s enough scar tissue that exists from programs in the past that we should show this can be done,” he said, referring to the late and largely unlamented Airborne Laser, which was enormously over-budget and late and eventually determined to be unfeasible for military use.
Webb said AFSOC hasn’t “decided where the laser would go.” The tests will help determine that, as well as which mix of weapons is most effective. His predecessor, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, said the laser would probably go on the left side of the plane.
Why does AFSOC want a laser on the gunship? Heithold put it clearly:  “The reason that I want it on an AC-130 is, right now, when an AC-130 starts firing kinetic weaponry, everybody knows you’re there. What I want on the airplane is to be able to silently disable something.”
The first of 14 Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transports (14-5807, c/n 5807) that will be assigned to the U.S. Air Force installation at Yokota Air Base, Japan, departed the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility on Feb. 24, 2017. This marks the first U.S. Air Force combat delivery C-130J-30 to be permanently assigned to the Pacific region.

The C-130J-30s will be flown by 36th Airlift Squadron crews at Yokota, and the new aircraft will recapitalize the unit’s existing C-130H fleet. The C-130Js will be used to support critical peacekeeping and contingency operations in the Western Pacific region, including cargo delivery, troop transport, airdrop and aeromedical missions. The 36th AS - known as the “Eagle Airlifters” - is one of several flying squadrons under the 374th Airlift Wing.
“It is an honor for Lockheed Martin to deliver this milestone C-130J to the Airmen who fly, support and maintain the 374th Airlift Wing’s Hercules fleet,” said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. “The 374th has a long, distinguished history with the C-130 and its C-130J fleet will continue — and expand — the wing’s unmatched and vital airlift capabilities.”
The C-130J Super Hercules is the current combat delivery C-130 production variant, offering superior performance and new capabilities, with the range and flexibility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements. The U.S. Air Force operates the largest C-130J fleet in the world and its C-130 crews have been large contributors to the global Super Hercules fleet’s more than 1.5 million flight hours.
The largest C-130 base in the world recently marked the end of a transition that first began 13 years ago. The 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base received its final, new C-130J aircraft from a Lockheed Martin facility, Feb. 27, 2017. The 19th Air Force commander delivered the C-130J; and spoke about the future of the 314th AW and its international C-130 Center of Excellence training school. The 19th Air Force executes operational-level command and control of all formal aircrew flying training missions within the Air Education and Training Command.
 1. You mention that Airpower starts in the First Command. What does that phrase mean and how does the 314th Airlift Wing play a part in it?
The First Command is what we call AETC because our command is the first that many encounter when entering the Air Force, the first command to touch the lives of our newest Airmen. From the moment they work with recruiters, head to basic and then to tech school, our Airmen are interacting and part of the First Command, literally, their first command within the Air Force.
But beyond the literal definition, we are their gateway to the Air Force. We mold them and develop them into the Airmen they will become and we instill in them the values as well as provide them the tools and skills for success.
Here at the 314th AW, you train and prepare Airmen for their first duty. You instill in them the values of the Air Force, the skills to be a pilot and the heart and drive of a Combat Airlifter. When they leave this unit and head into the operational force, they are well-trained, well-prepared and ready to complete their mission and provide combat airlift anywhere we ask them to go.
2. With this C-130J, the 314th AW now has its full complement of C-130Js. How will this help the 314th AW train to better prepare U.S. and coalition forces?
Now that we have 30 C-130Js in AETC, with 14 of them in the 314th AW, the 314th AW will continue to play a large role in training and educating not only our Airmen but our coalition partners and allied nations to deliver airpower across the globe. The ability to provide interoperability between partner nations has been a key aspect to success in our missions across the world and the unique ability of the 314th to train these partners as well as our own Airmen together. With the full complement of aircraft along with the extensive simulator program, the 314th is able to train students more efficiently than ever before and will continue to produce qualified and committed Combat Airlifters.
3. Why it is so important that the Center of Excellence is co-located with operational C-130J squadrons/mission? 
By having both the training and operational arms of Combat Airlift located in one location, we are able to partner and better strengthen our capabilities to provide Combat Airlift across the world. When our Airmen training within AETC are able to look across the street or even the room and see the application of the training they are currently receiving, they are able to better understand the lessons taught and how they will apply them once they enter the operational side of things.
The fact that the operational arm is co-located also allows our Airmen to network and find mentors within the operational units that can help tie the lessons and real world applications together. When there are examples of Combat Airlift surrounding our Airmen, their ability to connect the two aspects of Combat Airlift increases and the lightbulb goes off above their head.
4. The 314th AW operates the DoD’s largest international flying training program; how does the academic partnership with other countries strengthen operational partnerships? 
When students are able to train together and learn the functionality of the aircraft from the same source, they are better able to understand how each other thinks as well as speak in the same technical language. In addition, when students return to their home countries, they have networked and know many of the individuals they may work with in the future during coalition exercises or missions. These personal ties and partnerships allow a freer flow of communication when it really counts.
Improving these partnerships through the international training program truly does improve interoperability during exercises, and more importantly, during missions. The 314th AW enables combat airlifters from over 45 different countries to come together as a team and complete the mission efficiently and effectively not only in training but in real life as well.
5. One of AETC’s strategic vectors is “Motivational Mission Accomplishment”, what does this mean to the units and for the students who might go on to another MAJCOM after tech school? 
Although our students may leave AETC, they don’t leave behind the ideals we uphold. We not only train our Airmen, but instill within them a sense of duty, a yearning for a challenge, the understanding that each day brings new learning and that if they push themselves, they are capable of so much. These values are more than just the skill to fly the aircraft; they are the driving force behind why our Airmen continue to soar both in the sky and on the ground.
When Airmen leave AETC and head to another command, they bring with them these values and live them out each and every day. In doing so, they contribute not only to our Air Force as they challenge themselves but as they challenge those around them to strive for more and to push to accomplish the mission. Although they are no longer in AETC, they motivate and challenge those around them to take it to the next level and in doing so, improve our Air Force and our nation.
6. What advice would you give to the C-130 aircrew and maintenance students going through the programs offered by the 314th?
Don't lose focus. Our Air Force is made great by the hardworking, dedicated individuals like yourself. This constantly and rapidly changing world demands we find innovative ways to meet our mission. We need you.
7. How will the new T-X requirements potentially change undergraduate pilot training process and ultimately the follow-on formal training units such as the 314th AW? 
There are a number of possibilities. The Air Force could stick to two aircraft training tracks, cargo and fighters, or try something entirely different. The real goal is to leverage the fourth and fifth generation technology in our newest aircraft and introduce it earlier in training.
No matter what aircraft is chosen for the T-X trainer, AETC has full confidence the 314th AW will adapt the training to produce world-class aviators who can meet our Nation's future challenges.
8. How will you take the lessons learned here as a numbered Air Force commander and bring them to your next command? 
If you never try something new, you will never improve your unit. In my next job, I will make sure to delegate authority to wing commanders. If you have a good wing commander, let them be commanders and don’t micromanage. As Gen. Goldfein said, to revitalize a squadron you must empower commanders to take risks and let them do what they think is right. If they fail, at least they tried something new. Give guidance, have them keep you informed, but let them do their job. Most squadron commanders know what’s going on in their squadron better than a wing or numbered air force commander.
(14-5804 c/n 5804 )
The C-130H FuT provides a controlled environment where personnel can schedule realistic, high-fidelity task training and mission simulation, ensuring that AE crew and ground support personnel remain proficient in providing high quality and reliable patient transport.
The FuT also allows for hands-on muscle memory of configuration, placement of in-flight kits, electrical, oxygen and emergency exits.
Maj Mark Hassett, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) operations flight commander, said: 'The C-130H FuT provides an innovative, cost effective, improved training platform for total force AE and ground support personnel in terms of aircraft configuration familiarisation and realistic, high-fidelity task training and mission simulation.
'(The 375th) AES worked with AMC and C-130 training resources to determine what parts were needed to sustain a realistic training platform. Critical components deemed unnecessary for AE training were removed from the aircraft and recycled so other agencies could use them.'
The C-130 is the primary aircraft for the 375th AES and performs a large amount of patient evacuations during operations.
C-130H 74-2131 c/n 4718
The "War Eagle" C-130 aircraft left its military legacy of valor to a newer model on Friday.
An official transfer of heritage and retirement ceremony took place at Maxwell Air Force Base when the 908th Airlift Wing reserve unit transferred the heritage and "War Eagle" nose art from aircraft 85-0040, c/n 5083  along with the memorabilia to the newer aircraft 91-9142 c/n 5295 .
Cadets from the university's Air Force ROTC Detachment were on hand and take part in the ceremony
The "War Eagle" used by the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell contains more than the blue and orange moniker for the Auburn University football team.
Stepping inside to climb the cockpit, one can't help but notice the painted emblem of the Purple Heart, the military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving.
This particular plane saw war, was wounded and still brought its precious cargo of troops to safety.
While in Iraq in 2005, "War Eagle" took a rocket through one of its engines and managed to land safely, while still on fire with 55 soldiers on board. The maintenance personnel downrange swapped out the propeller and engine, put some temporary patches on it and sent it home for a complete repair, said Col. Jerry Lobb, chief of public affairs for the 908th.
Despite being badly damaged and repaired, the aircraft continued to fight and carry university memorabilia around the world since then. "War Eagle" is the third of eight C-130 Hercules aircraft to retire from the 908th since January when it was announced that the Reserve unit will be replacing their eight older model planes with newer planes from the 914th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York
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The Indian Air Force is definitely one of a kind in the world. What makes it so unique is the varied mix of aircraft its inventory comprises of, which makes it the most diverse force in the sky. Its family members include the Russian Migs, Sukhois, the brilliant Mirage 2000s and Jaguars, and the indigenous Tejas. However, aging machinery, crashes and a painfully slow procurement process has been causing a lot of frost to accumulate on its wings lately. Back in February 2011, six C-130J tactical airlifters were procured from the United States, of which the IAF had earlier lost one during “a tactical low-level training sortie” after it crashed near Gwalior in March 2014, killing five personnel on board.
Now, another C-130J Super Hercules, being flown by Group Captain Jasveen Singh Chatrath, the commanding officer of the elite 77 Squadron (Veiled Vipers) of the IAF, has been left badly-damaged after it crashed into a pole and other structures while taxing on the tarmac in the high-altitude Thoise airfield in Ladakh on December 13th 2016.
Group Captain Chatrath, along with his co-pilot and weapons systems operator, was on a night sortie on the C-130J which was being flown to the military airfield at Thoise, a staging area for the Siachen region, when the accident took place. The IAF, which has kept the incident under wraps till now, has refused to comment on the matter. Sources, however, said the pilots apparently failed to keep the C-130J on the “centreline of the taxiway” after landing at the airfield at an altitude of over 10,000-feet.
According to this report’s source, “They mistook another line to be the centreline (which provides obstacle clearance) at the airfield which has restricted space for manoeuvre. One of the wings and propeller of the aircraft then hit the pole and some other objects with great impact. Whether the centreline and other lines were marked properly and all other factors are being examined by the CoI.”
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft and hods the record for the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history. India has ordered 13 C-130J’s, of which, 6 have been inducted, while the rest 7 have been reserved for a new squadron to be based at Panagarh in West Bengal.
As promised by the Air Force Special Operations Command vice commander, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex C-130 sustainment workers were treated to a Feb. 9 tour inside an AC-130W gunship fully loaded with the latest modifications.
Maj. Gen. Eugene Haase, AFSOC vice commander, and his crew brought the AC-130W from Hurlburt Field, Fla., to the Robins flight line to keep a vow he made during a similar visit in 2016.
“I promised if you guys continued your magic that we would come back with one of our ‘Whiskeys’,” Haase said. “I would tell you that you have, and it’s just been a huge success story up here for us. I mean, you’ve set new standards.”
Standing on the base operations red carpet leading to the gunship, Haase thanked an assemblage of about 150 C-130 workers for the highly-successful AFSOC acceleration project performed at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex.
“You probably didn’t realize this, but you set history this fall,” Haase said. “For the first time in the history of AFSOC, we only had two airplanes (here). That was the minimum – the least number of airplanes that we’ve ever had at Robins going through the depot line. So you should be very, very proud of yourselves and what you’re doing – what you’re doing for us; what you’re doing for the country.
“These airplanes are over in the AOR, over in the CENTCOM AOR, taking it to the bad guys every night,” he said. “So know that your work is allowing us to provide combat power down range day in and day out.”
AFSOC identified a need for improved gunship availability in June 2015. Subsequently, six AFSOC aircraft – three AC-130U gunships and three MC-130H Combat Talon aircraft – arrived at Robins in fiscal 2016 as part of a hard-hitting “acceleration” plan.
Partnered with AFSOC, the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron -- with support from throughout the WR-ALC production machine – exceeded all expectations.
An AC-130U target was set for a 30 percent acceleration from 180 to 120 flow days. The Robins team delivered three-of-three at an average of 118 flow days.
The MC-130H target was set for 27 percent acceleration from 200 to 145 flow days. WR-ALC delivered all three at an average of 135 flow days.
Fiscal 2017 requirements have been expanded to include two AC-130W, increasing the Robins total to eight aircraft in the acceleration plan. All of the fiscal 2017 deliveries remain on or ahead of schedule.
Prior to the workers tour of the gunship, the general detailed the firepower of the newest AC-130 configuration. He said the aircraft was equipped with 30mm and 105mm guns. The gunship also featured missile launch capability and wing stanchions for small-diameter bombs.
The crew of the Spectre 67 remained on board the plane to answer any questions the workers may have had as they toured the inside of the weapon system.
“We’re proud to be up here today to let you walk through there,” Haase said.
The general pledged to stay until “every person on this base that wants to come out and see this airplane” had a chance to do so.
On behalf of the 19,000 men and women of AFSOC, Haase presented a commemorative 105mm shell to Doug Keene, special assistant to the WR-ALC commander. Haase read from the shell inscription saying the gift was a thanks to the complex “for helping AFSOC deliver violence to the enemy anytime, anyplace.”
“It always makes us really proud when AFSOC comes to visit us,” Keene said. “It makes us feel like part of the team.”
Lt. Gen. Brad Heithold, AFSOC commander, toured the 560th AMXS to see the accelerated PDM work on March 22, 2016.
During the visit, Heithold said: "This is not by accident that we have come here to show our appreciation to all of you. We don’t have a lot of these airplanes – every one of them matters.”
 Haase, a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours including 114 combat hours, visited Robins a year ago, bringing an AC-130U “Spooky” gunship as a static display for Robins maintenance crews to tour.
“Really appreciate what you do day in and day out for us,” the general said to the team in parting. “Thanks. Proud of y’all. Happy to be here to do this.”
Headquartered at Hurlburt Field, AFSOC is the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command. It provides Air Force special operations forces for worldwide deployment and assignment to unified combatant commanders
Throughout the Air Force, Airmen depend on each other to ensure the mission is completed. Just as pilots depend on an array of career field specialists to guarantee an aircraft is mission-ready, weapons undergraduate pilots in the C-130 Weapons Instructor Course depend on loadmasters to help understand what goes on in the back of the aircraft.
The 29th Weapons Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, is home to the C-130 WIC. Only the top tier of instructor pilots and instructor navigators are selected to attend the course. Weapons officer cadre train weapons undergraduate pilots, or WUGS, to become tactical experts and leaders in the art of battle-space dominance. This requires weapons officers to be well-rounded in all aspects of managing a C-130.
“My job entails anything from assisting students throughout multiple mission planning scenarios to flying as a loadmaster during the various WIC phases,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Stager, 29th WPS instructor loadmaster. “We give [students] the information needed so they can plan accordingly when it comes to airdrops and transportation of cargo and personnel.”
Trust and understanding are hallmark characteristics between pilots and loadmasters to ensure each mission is safely and accurately completed. Crew resource management, or CRM, plays a big factor in ensuring both pilot and loadmaster are aware of what’s going on and have clear communication within all phases of flight. CRM aids in the decision making process that takes place amongst each crewmember.
“It is critical to know what the loadmaster is doing through all phases of flight,” said Capt. Scott Schavrien, 29th WPS weapons officer instructor. “Whether it comes to executing an airdrop, loading cargo or taking care of passengers, knowing what the loadmaster is doing ensures mission success.”
Once the students graduate WIC, they are in charge of planning a vast multitude of complex missions. With the knowledge passed from cadre and loadmasters, weapons officers know exactly what an aircraft can do, what it can carry and how it can be used effectively and efficiently in all scenarios.
The purpose of WIC is to both teach pilots and navigators how to employ a C-130 in a cross-domain battlespace, as well as train their units which increases overall combat capability. Flying squadrons depend on their knowledge of the latest tactics, techniques and procedures for all air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in a joint environment.
Lockheed Martin rolled out the first LM-100J Hercules airlifter from its Marietta production facility in Georgia on 9 February.
This milestone for the civil variant of the military C-130J came approximately two years after the concept was launched by the company as it sought to broaden its market in the face of shrinking of global defense budgets in general, and of Pentagon budgets in particular.
Lockheed Martin has filed for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) civil type certificate update and this first LM-100J will participate in flight test activity to support this process.
As with the earlier L-100 variant of the Hercules that was built between 1964 and 1992 (during which time 115 were delivered), the LM-100J is earmarked for a range of civil applications such as oversized cargo transport; oil dispersion/aerial spray; oil and gas exploration; mining logistics operations; aerial firefighting; aerial delivery; medevac/air ambulance; humanitarian relief operations; personnel transport; austere field operations; and search and rescue.
Although billed as a commercial platform, the LM-100J will also be targeted at governmental and military users who perhaps do not require some of the more advanced, and consequently more expensive, features of the C-130J. For example, secure communications and electronic warfare equipment, racks, and wiring are all eliminated in the civil aircraft.
As well as reducing the procurement cost (Lockheed Martin has previously given a unit cost of about USD60 million and USD70 million for an LM-130J, compared to approximately USD100 million for a C-130J), this reduces weight and fuel costs, as well as maintenance and sustainment costs. As such, the company sees a particular application with the militaries of some of the less developed parts of the world, such as Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia.
Some military-specific software functions, such as a Computer-Aided Release Point (CARP) for airdrops, are retained however, and the LM-100J features the Enhanced Service Life (ESL) center wing-box, enhanced icing protection, and the numerous reliability and maintainability improvements that are a part of the basic C-130J design.
Airmen conducted a training flight using the first C-130J with a Block 8.1 upgrade at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 3, 2017.  
The Block 8.1 upgrade enhances GPS capabilities, communications systems, updated friend-or-foe identification and allows the C-130J to comply with worldwide air traffic management regulations. Additionally, the upgrade program will standardize aviation systems to improve interoperability. 
“This update will truly allow us to have unhindered global access,” said Capt. Kyle Gauthier, 61st Airlift Squadron C-130J instructor pilot and flight commander. “It will also provide pilots improved situational awareness, and a greater ability to communicate with command and control around the world.” 
Over the next two years Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing and 314th Airlift Wing will team together to test the only two Block 8.1 upgraded C-130J’s in the world over.
“We have put thousands of maintenance hours into this plane since it arrived,” said Master Sgt. Brian Johnson, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent. “We’re excited to see it finally up in the air.”
Airmen from the 19th Airlift Wing and 314th Airlift Wing will team together on the only two Block 8.1 upgraded C-130J’s in the world over the next two years at Little Rock AFB. Loadmaster, pilots and maintainers will work with Lockheed Martin to report any bugs or potential issues.
Gauthier said, “Flying with such a new system can be difficult, but it is exciting to know you’re shaping the future of C-130J operations worldwide.” 
Chemical tanks, conveyer belts and intricate machines line the walls of the 19th Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspections shop.
The lights are turned off as one ultraviolet light shines a new spectrum of colors to an NDI technician.
Shades of purple, blue and neon-green light up the dark as the Airman searches for what the naked eye can’t see. 
Just as a special investigator uses black lights searching for clues, NDI Airmen use them to identify potential cracks in a variety of aircraft parts. 
“We specialize in preventative maintenance,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Derik Shannon, 19th MXS NDI craftsman. “We use noninvasive ways to inspect aircraft for defects.”
NDI Airmen stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, use five methods to detect discrepancies: magnetic particle, fluorescent penetrant, X-ray, ultrasonic and eddy current.
Each method uses a distinct technique to safeguard a C-130J’s structural integrity.
Two procedures unique to the NDI shop are magnetic particle and fluorescent penetrant which use fluorescent liquid, and ultraviolet lighting to illuminate small structural flaws.
X-ray and ultrasonic are two other methods that enable NDI Airmen to inspect the structural inside of any part without disassembling it completely, using radiation and sound energy.
Eddy current, the most common method, consists of infusing electricity into an object creating an opposing magnetic field. Interruptions found within the field are identified as cracks and marked.
This enables the NDI team to perform inspections in their shop and on the flight line.
“Last week, we inspected the entire exterior of a C-130J for hail damage,” Shannon said. “Using an eddy current probe, we combed over it in what was expected to be a 48-hour inspection that we finished in eight hours.”
The NDI team has five methods at their disposal. Every technique is a sure-fire way to identify even the smallest crack before it becomes a major problem.  
“We do the small stuff to keep the big aircraft flying, making sure every little piece is intact,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class James Schwein, 19th MXS NDI journeyman.
The NDI shop inspects approximately 3,000 parts annually. Even down to an aircraft’s smallest bolt, the shop’s ultimate goal is to keep the aircrew safe and the C-130J in flight to provide combat capabilities across the globe.
As the train, advise and assist missions continue in Afghanistan, the Afghan Air Force is taking the lead from Coalition in supporting ground troops through air power.

Maintenance air advisors from Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air), 440th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, are working side-by-side with their AAF counterparts to develop a professional, capable and sustainable air force.

At the beginning of 2014, the AAF received C-130H models in which currently four crews are trained and in full mission capable status.
“Providing a platform like the C-130H to the AAF increases their capacity for airlift, casualty evacuation, and troop transport,” said Maj. Elbert Waters, 440th AEAS commander. “This capacity allows Afghanistan to combat their war on their own terms. This strategic advantage could never be realized without the hard work of these air advisors.”

For the past six months, maintenance air advisors have worked with their AAF counterparts becoming trained and qualified as level three maintainers. On Jan. 11, 2017, a group of 44 AAF C-130H maintainers were the first in-country trained to graduate and receive their level three certification.

The recent graduates were trained by Total Force Airmen from Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio and Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., that specialize in various maintenance Air Force Specialty Codes from; engine and propulsion, hydraulics, fuel, electrical and environmental, avionics, and crew chief specialist.

“The AAF is trained in accordance with their Career Field Education and Training Program and progress from zero level to three level, then from three to two, and then two to one,” explained Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Pratt, 440th AEAS C-130 maintenance team lead. “It varies on the amount of training time, but usually a one year progression in each step due to the language barrier and the use of interpreters.”

Both enlisted and officer Afghan maintainers who score higher than a 55 on an English examination have the opportunity to attend the Defense Language Institute in the United States. They then move forward to their respective career field specialty technical training in various parts of the U.S. This helps AAF maintenance crews get a better understanding of technical and mechanical terms that do not translate well with the use of interpreters, explained Pratt.

Currently, maintenance on the AAF C-130H is accomplished by contractors, while TAAC-Air advisors teach both in a classroom and hands-on setting.

“The maintenance that keeps the C-130s in the air is heavily dependent on (Contractor Logistic Support) at this time, and this will transition to being heavily AAF only in the next five to ten years,” said Waters. “The maintenance training occurring right now is building the force of qualified technicians that will take the lead as CLS decreases.”

Advisors continue to work toward an end state of AAF maintenance becoming self-sufficient. Plans are currently in the works for a train-the-trainer program, which will have qualified AAF maintainers teaching classes.

“Building a maintainer is a long process. The increased capabilities will not be seen or realized for several more years,” said Waters. “The AAF has had a jump in capabilities due to the lift missions that are being executed daily.”

Before any training takes place, advisors are taught to build a trusting relationship with their AAF counterparts. The group of Total Force Airmen worked to build a connection that breaks the communication barrier.

Although only few of the AAF maintainers speak English, crews can often be seen laughing and telling jokes with advisors during down time. However, when training takes place focus is then returned to learning their craft.

“These students are very motivated and have a strong desire to contribute to their country,” said Tech. Sgt. Toron Bordain, 440th AEAS C-130 maintenance advisor. “It was a great experience working with the AAF, and we were able to build strong and lasting bonds.”

The time for the Youngstown ARS and Dobbins ARB advisors is coming to an end, but new teams from the Air National Guard are now in place to ensure training continues.

Training of aircraft maintainers is just one facet that helps the AAF continue to grow and lead operations in their country.

In the short time the AAF has had the C-130H in inventory, the airframe has proven to be a major asset to the Afghan’s mission success. As of 2016, the AAF C-130H crews flew more than 1,065 sorties and transported more than 29,900 passengers and 880 metric tons of cargo, according to TAAC-Air operation advisors.

“We are making a difference every day, and the gains that have been made are historic,” said Waters. “The members of the AAF are people that take great risks for their country…they eagerly want to learn to make their force stronger.”
Rolls-Royce has secured a $73.6 million task order to sustain the propulsion systems of the US Air Force's fleet of C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.
The company will also provide inventory control point management, repair, sustaining engineering and technical data support services under the task order, the Defense Department said Thursday.
Work will occur in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is scheduled to finish July 31, 2017.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center obligated $54.8 million at the time of award from the military branch’s fiscal 2017 operations and maintenance funds.