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C-130 Hercules News

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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.
With the new C-130J Super Hercules coming to Yokota Air Base, the 374th Operations Support Squadrons Aircrew Flight Equipment Flight has been preparing for their arrival.

The AFE flight is responsible for all the flight crews and passengers’ survival and life support equipment on an aircraft. From oxygen masks, helmets, life-rafts and parachutes the AFE flight ensures that all the equipment functions properly so the aircrew can accomplish their mission; and if the worst should happen, the aircrew will have the necessary equipment to get them through.

The transition from the old H-model to the new J-model C-130s has given the AFE flight a chance to show their capabilities to overcome the many challenges that come with the airframe switch.

According to Master Sgt. Brock A. Atchley, 374 OSS AFE Flight NCO in charge, each C-130J Super Hercules has around 1,500 life support and survival items. When the old H-models leave they must be fully equipped and ready for their next home. This means coordinating with the gaining unit whether it’s a national guard or reserve base on what requirements they need for each aircraft.

Yokota will be getting 14 new C-130J Super Hercules, eight brand-new form the factory and six coming from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The six new J-models that will be arriving from Dyess, will be equipped with all the necessary equipment as well; but that does not mean the AFE flight is free from work.

Once the Dyess C-130J Super Hercules arrive at Yokota the AFE flight will unload all the life-support and survival equipment, inventory, disassemble, inspect, reassemble and re-pack all the equipment onto the aircraft to ensure that everything is ready for the specific Pacific Air Force mission.

While the eight brand-new J-models coming from the factory will be ready for almost any mission, the 1,500 required items will still have to be acquired and placed onto the aircraft at Yokota by the AFE flight.

“We don’t just get a new parachute straight from the manufacturer and put it on the plane,” Atchley said. “We get a canopy, then a harness, then the other bits and pieces that go into it; and then put it all together and ensure it’s functional.”

For all the parachutes needed for one aircraft it may take up to a month to get all the necessary parts, build it and ensure it functions correctly.
“We have to prepare over nine months in advance in order for us to get everything on time in order to execute the mission,” said Atchley.

The challenge of overcoming the time frame of shipping all the necessary equipment, constructing items and inspecting them to be ready once the aircraft arrives has taken a lot of planning.

Tech. Sgt. Shakuntala M. Willis, 374 OSS AFE Flight NCOIC of the C-130J transition, has been tasked to lead a team to ensure that all the equipment is ready once the new aircraft come in. The preparation started in May 2016, and has encountered many challenges along the way.
“Being overseas does not make the job any easier between ordering, waiting on parts to ship and customs,” said Willis. “It makes it difficult to project our timeline when the ordering is so different for every item.”

While it is a lot of work for the AFE flight to get all new equipment for the new aircraft, they are excited about the future.

“The new quick-dawn mask is safer and easier for the aircrew to use than the old ones,” said Staff Sgt. William H. Chapmon, 374th OSS AFE flight NCOIC of chemical defense. “The old quick-dawn masks took six seconds to put on while the new ones take two seconds.”

With Yokota getting new equipment on all new aircraft, Atchley sees this transition as a chance for Yokota to set a new standard for the highest quality.

“This is our chance to have a clean slate on equipment that has historically been a bit aged here,” said Atchley. “This is really a great way for us to reset the bench-mark for the equipment that goes on these C-130’s”

From new equipment, to carefully crafted stenciling on containers; all the little touches the AFE flight members can implement to hit the highest of standards is being done.

The AFE flight is accomplishing vital work and preparation for the new C-130J Super Hercules; ensuring the new birds have everything they need to accomplish the various missions in their new Pacific home.
“Our mission is to train the best C-130 aircrews in the world,” said Mark Wilderman, 314th AW historian.
Before the 314th AW became the Center of Excellence C-130 schoolhouse, it was known as the 314th Transport Carrier Group. Since its activation in March 1942, the 314th TCG has undergone many name changes and played a vital role in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.
In 1971, the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, assigned to the Military Airlift Command, served as the primary C-130 training organization after the Vietnam War at Little Rock AFB. The organization trained approximately 81,000 students, including students from 47 allied countries.
The 314th Airlift Wing began training students under the Air Education and Training Command in 1997. Eleven years later, the 19th AW became Little Rock AFB’s host unit and the 314th AW realigned to oversee premiere C-130 aircrew training. The transition created a close partnership between the 19th AW and 314th AW, allowing one-of-a-kind training for Combat Airlifters.
“The 19th Airlift Wing has been very helpful,” Wilderman said. “The 19th AW frequently provides aircraft for students to train on. The 314th AW has approximately 12 aircraft.”
As the 314th AW continues to train C-130 aircrews, they ensure the 19 AW has capable and competent Airmen to conduct rapid global mobility.
“The 19th AW supports our mission in many ways,” Wilderman said. “Not only do they occasionally provide aircraft, they provide facilities and resources so we can keep training Airmen for wings like the 19th AW.”
Members of the Brazilian air force are returning to the site of an Antarctic crash from more than two years ago to dismantle the remains of their Hercules C-130.
The plane's engines and lubricants in the aircraft had already been removed to ensure they did not leak and cause any environmental impact to Antarctica - a condition of Brazil being a signatory to the Madrid Protocol.
A Brazilian Air Force pilot crashed the rescue plane while landing at Teniente R Marsh Airport, Antarctica's northernmost airfield on King George Island, on 27 November 2014.
  In footage of the crash, a small explosion can be seen as the pilot attempts to brake while the plane skids off the runway.
Snow surrounds the plane as it eventually comes to a stop.
Removal of the plane will take an estimated 20 days, depending on weather conditions, according Chilean radio news service Cooperativa.
All parts will be shipped back to Brazil with researchers from the Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station, who are being rotated.


The 908th Airlift Wing transferred the heritage of aircraft 85-0042 known as Roll Tide to aircraft number 89-1188 Jan 20.

The transfer was completed by the University of Alabama mascot, Big Al, and Col. Don Richey commander of the 908th Operations Group

The transfer marks the departure and retirement of aircraft 42 after having flown more than 12,000 hours in the 31 years since it arrived at Maxwell. It has deployed in support of most/all of the named contingencies in the Middle East and Africa since then. It has also supported humanitarian and relief operations, following hurricanes and floods at home and abroad.

During the ceremony, Big Al carried a University of Alabama flag from 42 to 1188 to symbolically moving the “Roll Tide” name and legacy to the newer aircraft.

There was also a special message from Stuart R. Bell, the President of the University of Alabama, to wing members which said, “Thank you for your service, for your dedication and for your professionalism. The entire Crimson Tide family is grateful for all that you do for Alabama and our nation.”

His message continued with, “It has been our tremendous privilege knowing the 908th has honored The University of Alabama with the distinction of naming one of your C-130 Hercules aircraft the ‘Roll Tide.’ While it is sad to learn the current aircraft will be retired next week, we are thrilled to participate in this ceremony to transfer the ‘Roll Tide’ heritage to this new member of your fleet.

The 908th is very proud of its community ties and takes great honor in being the only reserve unit in the state, it means a lot to the wing to have those same feelings reciprocated.

“As you know, The University of Alabama is where legends are made,” said Bell. “We know the 908th Airlift Wing is where heroes are cultivated, leaders are developed … and legends are flown. We are extremely proud to help transfer the ‘Roll Tide’ legacy to aircraft 89-1188 today, and we again thank you for this great honor. ROLL TIDE!”

After the ceremony, Big Al posed for pictures with members of the 908th sharing their Crimson Tide pride.
All around the dimly-lit tent are enduring symbols of a constant presence. A name scrawled across a wooden wall, a lengthy list of deployment dates written underneath, updated year after year. A library stacked with books and games to pass the time. A built-in couch labeled “Snooze Town.”

All the things people to do to make a place feel like home are apparent in this place where its inhabitants often spend half their time each year.

The 41st Electronic Combat Squadron and the 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron based out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, have been continuously deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and now the Resolute Support Mission, since 2002. They have been at Bagram since 2004.

They are the longest continuously deployed Air Force unit in Afghanistan.

The unit operates the EC-130H Compass Call, a modified version of the C-130H Hercules airframe. It serves as an airborne weapons system capable of disrupting enemy command and control communications and limiting adversary coordination essential for enemy force management.

This capability is known colloquially as “jamming” and ensures that when a U.S. or coalition unit goes on a mission, the enemy is unable to communicate with one another.

The effect is an indispensable asset to ground forces and has led to 2,193 terrorists removed from the battlefield, just since 2014.

“The special forces guys will come by after a mission we supported and say thanks,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Meredith, 455th EAMXS expeditor.

Many of their maintainers have been with the unit since the beginning. The members of the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s EC-130 Compass Call aircraft maintenance unit currently deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan have 146 deployments among them.

“I’ve been on 13 deployments, 9 of them here [at Bagram] and all of them have been with this unit,” said Meredith.

“I just left here last July,” said one of the new arrivals.

These numbers are not unusual, and individuals throughout the AMU often have deployments in the double digits, with months out of each year spent away from home.

“His kid just started walking and he shows us videos all the time – but he doesn’t get to see it,” said Senior Airman Richard Marshall, Aircraft Electrical and Environmental Systems journeyman, about a fellow squadron member.

For those with families back home, they say the key is to make the most of the time they have. Tech. Sgt. Tony Rivera, a 455th EAMXS crew chief, has two sons back home and says he spends the time he has with his boys participating in their lives and making every moment count.

Despite the strain of an undeniably high operations tempo, the mood in the unit remains positive. When they’re not working out on the flightline, they play sports or video games together and work out in their “prison gym” in front of a vividly painted “Muscle Beach” sign.

“We just call it high-fiving. You don’t skip a beat,” said Meredith about the constant change-over.

“I’ve been deployed 13 times in my career, and the last two since I’ve been with this unit have been the best by far,” said Rivera, who just arrived at Bagram for his third deployment in the two years since joining the EC-130 AMU. “This is without a doubt the tightest group of folks I’ve ever worked with.”

He paused to cheer on his peers playing a spirited game of volleyball on their makeshift court in the clamshell where they work.

“The sorriest bunch of hooligans,” he corrected himself with a smile.

To date, 41st EECS crews have flown over 39,000 hours during 6,800 combat sorties in these operations. The unit has broken the monthly flying records for three consecutive months since this past October – something that has never been done before.

The unit’s mission capable rate, the maintenance term for number of functioning aircraft, hit a 27-month record high in November – 96.5%. This has led to the 455th EAMXS winning the 2016 Air Combat Command Maintenance Effectiveness Award.
The Israeli air force is equipping its Lockheed Martin C-130J ("Samson") tactical transports with an advanced self-protection system against the threat of surface-to-air missiles.
As Israel continues to receive deliveries of the US-built transport, the air force's flight test centre has been performing operational tests of new countermeasures equipment based on highly-accurate decoy flares. This work has been conducted as part of a wider activity to equip the service's C-130Js with systems to support the missions of the Israeli defence forces' depth command.
Once equipped with the updated self-protection package, the air force's transports will be able to operate in areas where terrorist groups have ready access to shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles.
Flight Fleets Analyzer records the Israeli air force as having received four C-130Js, with the service planning to acquire a further three examples.
The US Department of Defence has contracted Sierra Nevada Corporation to supply an electronic intelligence (ELINT) capability to Egypt for the C-130 Hercules aircraft.

The contract was awarded on 10 January, according to the US Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, and is worth $727 277.

The contract award notice did not provide any further information. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes that the Egyptian Air Force has 22 C-130H and three C-130H-30 Hercules in its fleet, which could be upgraded with an ELINT capability. The publication pointed out that in July 2003 the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale of two Egyptian Air Force C-130Hs with roll on/roll off ELINT systems. That proposed deal was to be implemented by Lockheed Martin, the Mission Research Corporation, and Plano Microwave (which became part of Sierra Nevada Corporation) but it is not clear if the sale was ever implemented.
Current and former members of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 211th Rescue Squadron bid farewell to the last of their HC-130N (93-2106 c/n 5387 ) aircraft Jan. 17 as it departed here for Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.

The HC-130 variants of the C-130 family of aircraft are designed for long-range search-and-rescue missions. They are set up to provide command and control, airdrop of pararescue personnel and equipment, and perform air-refueling missions for helicopters like the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters flown by the 211th’s sister unit, the 210th Rescue Squadron.

The older HC-130Ns are scheduled to be replaced with four new HC-130J “Combat King II” aircraft which are currently being manufactured at a Lockheed Martin plant in Georgia.

“The new models will have significant improvements," explained Col. Scott Coniglio, vice commander of the 211th's parent unit, the 176th Wing, and a former HC-130N navigator.

According to a USAF factsheet, modifications to the HC-130J include improved navigation, threat detection and countermeasures systems. The aircraft have a fully-integrated inertial navigation and global positioning systems, and night-vision goggle compatible interior and exterior lighting. They also have forward-looking infrared sensors, radar and missile warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers, satellite and data-burst communications, and the ability to receive fuel in flight via a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation.

With the new equipment comes a large amount of training, Coniglio said.

“Currently, the majority of the 211th Rescue Squadron are down in Kirtland Air Force Base [New Mexico] for training on the new model,” he said.

After the new models arrive, they will require 90 days of maintenance to get the 176th Maintenance Squadron up to speed with the new airframes, explained Master Sgt. Ryan Conti, a flight engineer with the 211th RQS.

“The first one is scheduled to arrive in late May or early June, depending on the production timelines,” he said. “The other three planes are scheduled to arrive over the next few months afterwards.”

The 176th Wing received their first rescue HC-130s in 1990, according to Col. Michael Griesbaum, commander of the 176th Maintenance Group and an HC-130 pilot. The Wing had a total authorization of four HC-130N aircraft, with sequential tail numbers 88-2101, 88-2102, 90-2103, 92-2104, 92-2105 and 93-2106 (the first two aircraft were transferred to another rescue unit when the final two were received).

The sequential numbers denote that each of the six aircraft were part of the 210th Air Rescue Squadron. In 2004, Air Force Special Operations Command restructured the unit, splitting the helicopter, fixed wing and pararescue flights into separate squadrons.

The HH-60 helicopter flight became the 210th Rescue Squadron, the HC-130 flight became the 211th Rescue Squadron, and the pararescue flight became the 212th Rescue Squadron.

Speaking about tail number 2016 before its departure for Kirtland AFB, retired Master Sgt. Adam Galindo expressed his fondness for the airframe.

“We had the pleasure of receiving this aircraft fresh from the factory,” said Galindo, who was a flight engineer for the 211th RQS until his retirement in 2007. “It had about 17 hours on it when we received it. It was a good aircraft, and we took a lot of pride in what we did.”

Currently, Galdino’s son is training on the new HC-130J model, and will continue his father’s legacy with the fixed wing search and rescue aircraft, he said.

“It was a remarkable plane,” said retired Lt. Col. Harry Debruhl, who flew the HC-130N’s under the flag of the 210th Air Rescue Squadron until he retired in 1996. “All the missions we went out on, all the lives we saved, and the great people in the unit, that’s what meant the most to me. It’s the best plane ever made, and I hate to see it go. I definitely look forward to seeing what the new plane looks like when they get here.”
The United States has offered Niger an ex-US Air Force WC-130H Hercules aircraft under its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme.

The most recent EDA database notes that the Hercules was offered on 9 November 2015, but has yet to be accepted.

According to Air Forces Daily, the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, has a single WC-130H in storage. This was formerly operated by the Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 156th Airlift Wing/198th Airlift Squadron at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, San Juan-Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, Puerto Rico. Several more are still in active service with Puerto Rico’s Air National Guard.

Air Forces Daily notes the WC-130H arrived at Davis-Monthan on 7 June 2016. It is valued at $12 720 000. It was offered in October 2015.

The WC-130H was used in weather reconnaissance and aerial sampling. It was modified to penetrate hurricanes and typhoons to collect meteorological data that make advanced warnings of such storms possible. Weather reconnaissance equipment gathers information on movement, intensity and size of storms; outside air temperature; humidity; dewpoint; and barometric pressure. The WC-130H is capable of staying aloft nearly 15 hours during missions when equipped with two external 5 320 litre fuel tanks and an internal 6 480 litre fuel tank.
The United States is supplying a C-130 wing set to Niger, valued at $265 540. This was accepted by Niger on 19 April 2016, according to the EDA database. It is not clear if this is for the WC-130H or Niger’s sole surviving C-130H (the country bought two new C-130Hs which were delivered in 1979 but one crashed in April 1997, killing 14 people).

Other aircraft in Niger’s transport fleet include two Dornier Do 28/228s, a Boeing 737-200 and a couple of Cessna Caravans. Diamond DA 42 and ULM Tetra aircraft are used for surveillance and other tasks. The Caravans were delivered in October 2015 by the United States and configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
Over the next six months, the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell Air Force Base will be replacing their fleet of C-130 cargo aircraft with eight newer planes.
The first plane arrived Thursday night at Maxwell from New York.
The 908th, Alabama's only Reserve unit, has been flying the same Lockheed C-130 Hercules for the last three decades. The C-130 is a four-engine turboprop transport plane, commonly known as the "work horse of the Air Force."
Col. Jerry Lobb, spokesman for the 908th, confirmed Wednesday that the wing will be getting an upgrade with newer planes that have "less years, less miles and less hours" on them. The 908th planes have about 11,000 flying hours on each of them.
"Our aircraft happen to be the oldest in the Air Force inventory," Lobb said. "That's why we were selected by the Air Force for an upgrade."
The 914th Airlift Wing out of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York, is getting a new mission and will be replacing their current C-130s with the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, a military aerial refueling aircraft.
Their old C-130s that are the same make and model as the ones used by the 908th, but are four to six years newer will be flown to Montgomery. The eight incoming planes will replace the eight the 908th currently have – including two dubbed "Roll Tide" and "War Eagle" – that carry the state's college football rivals' respective logos.
The 908th's old, but still operational, planes will be sent to the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where the Air Force's old military planes are kept for parts.
Take a group of U.S. Air Force C-5 maintainers fresh from a C-17 project. Team them with C-130 maintenance professionals and what do you get?
Success for the U.S. Navy … in the sky.
Thanks to the partnership of two 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group squadrons, nine Navy airlifters now have state-of-the-art missile protection.
A project to retrofit Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures, or LAIRCM, Advanced Threat Warning Systems onto the Navy C-130Js arrived at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in fiscal year 2016.
It was completed ahead of schedule in early fiscal year 2017 through the combined efforts of the 559th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the unit that performs depot-level maintenance, repair and modification for all C-5 aircraft, and the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, which does the same for the C-130.
LAIRCM is a defensive system for large transport and rotary-wing aircraft that combines a missile-warning system and an infrared laser jammer countermeasure system to protect an aircraft from infrared-guided threat missiles.
The last of the Navy C-130Js that received the LAIRCM retrofit at WR-ALC was flown off the Robins Air Force Base flight line by a Navy aircrew on Dec. 29.
“This was a great partnership between the 559th AMXS and 560th AMXS,” said Jim “J.R.” Russell, 560th AMXS director. “We accomplished Gate 1 and Gate 4, while they accomplished Gate 2, the mod work gate, and Gate 3, the outgoing systems ops gate.”
David Johnson, 559th AMXS director, said much recognition is due “these incredible teams” that got the job done on the Navy LAIRCM workload.
“I am very proud of both teams that worked jointly to provide a critical aircraft system to keep our troops safe,” Johnson said. “This is the first workload the 559th has produced for a sister service, but we look forward to more in the future as we continue to increase capacity at WR-ALC.”
The 559th used technicians coming off a C-17 LAIRCM modification project that ended in fiscal year 2015. Having workers trained and recently experienced on LAIRCM mods paid big dividends on the speed and quality of the Navy project, Russell said.
Keith “L.K.” Hamilton, the 559th AMXS team leader for the project, said the Navy LAIRCM job was accomplished at a rate of 4,500 hours per modification. The work was contracted for 90 days, but was produced in an average of 60 days.
The 22-member 559th team worked a three-shift operation responsible for mod installation and operational checks. The 560th team accomplished induction, pressurization and outgoing preflight operations.
The nine aircraft contracted for Robins were all completed ahead of schedule – seven in fiscal year 2016 and two in early fiscal year 2017. Two more Navy C-130s received the LAIRCM retrofit in conjunction with scheduled programmed depot maintenance at Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
Russell said the combined Navy LAIRCM mod team produced all nine aircraft an average of 26 days early to the overall customer requirement date.
“That equates to 231 days of increased aircraft availability for the Navy and Marine warfighters,” he said.
LAIRCM automatically detects a missile launch, determines if it is a threat and activates a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile, according to information from Northrup Grumman, the corporation that develops and produces the system.
The Robins project stemmed from a Navy requirement to install infrared countermeasures on all U.S. Marine Corps airlift planes. The Navy LAIRCM Advanced Threat Warning System is the latest generation of directed infrared countermeasure systems and traces its origin to the Air Force LAIRCM program.
WR-ALC is not funded for any more Navy LAIRCMs in fiscal year 2017, although there is a potential for up to 40 additional aircraft to be retrofitted by the complex between fiscal years 2017 and 2020.
Aerospace enterprise Fábrica Argentina de Aviones SA (FAdeA) has completed another round of C-130 military transport aircraft upgrades for the Argentina’s air force.
That was reported by
The modernization involves five aircraft and the first C-130 was modified by L-3 last April.
FAdeA took 18 months to complete the job on C-130, # TC-61. All three other C-130s will be upgraded between now and 2019.
Fadea notes the initial contract took 18 months to complete, and included training services for Argentine technicians. Argentina plans to add 20 years of service life for all five of its C-130 aircraft.
India is set to position its second squadron of special operations aircraft C-130J in Panagarh, West Bengal, to increase flying in areas close to the disputed boundary with China.

“The second squadron of C-130J would be located at Panagarh. The flying will start by March-April 2017,” Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said here on Wednesday ahead of his retirement on December 31.

The mountain strike corps being raised by the army would eventually be located at Panagarh. India currently has 13 corps – 10 defensive and 3 offensive corps – 1, 2, and 21 based in Mathura, Ambala and Bhopal. The 17 corps will be the first one to have specific capabilities to fight in the mountains.

Raha brushed aside China’s angry reaction to the successful testing of long-range nuclear-capable Agni-V missile earlier this week. “In international diplomacy, normal diplomacy or military diplomacy, these posturing and signalling will always be there. So we should just go about with our task, meet our own requirements and security challenges,” said India’s senior most military officer, who chaired the Chief of Staff committee for 29 months.

“We are building capabilities to deter because several times in the past we were drawn into conflict. We need to have capabilities to strike deep at the heart of the adversary,” said Raha. The air chief did not name any country.

When asked to comment on the missile test, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign office said on Tuesday: “The UN Security Council has explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
China always maintains that preserving the strategic balance and stability in South Asia is conducive to peace and prosperity of regional countries and beyond.”

On the dwindling fighter strength, Raha said the IAF would require 200-250 aircraft in the next 10 years. The serviceability of aircraft increased by 5-7% with the inking of many agreements on spare supply and service.
An Indonesian Air Force C-130H (#A-1334) c/n 4785   has crashed into mountains in Kampung Minimo, Maima district in the East of the country on December 18, killing all 13 on board.
Air Force chief of staff Agus Supriatna reported the C-130 was carrying 12 tons of food supplies and cement from Timika to Wamena, a distance of about 200 kilometers (125 miles),

The Hercules took off from Timika at 05.35 hrs local time and was expected to land in Wamena at 06.13 hrs. Contact was lost 10 minutes before the scheduled landing.

Search and Rescue personnel were dispatched to area and reached the scene an hour later and recovered all the bodies who were taken to Wamena.

No official reason has yet to be given as to the cause of the crash. Air Force chief Agus Supriatna has indicated that the pilot may lost control due to bad weather, but this can not been confirmed.

In a press conference in Jakarta, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force Marshal Hadiyan Sumintaatmadja sent condolences to the family of the Air Force members who died.

"First of all, we express our condolences over the death of the Air Force members who were all on duty. We pray for strength for the bereaved family to deal with this ordeal," said Hadiyan.

An investigation was underway. Sumintaatmadja said the plane was airworthy and had 69 hours left until its next routine maintenance check.

The fatal incident is the latest for Indonesia's accident-prone military. But the worst incident to date was in June 2015, when another C-130 Hercules crashed into a residential neighborhood in the city of Medan, killing 142 people and causing widespread damage.

#A-1334 was the first of five ex-RAAF C-130H's sold to the Indonesian Air Force as part of an agreement signed July 2013 and was transferred to the TNIAU in February 2016.