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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web

  • Casey

    France's minister of the Armed Forces, officially welcomed the country's first C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the Armée de l'Air's 62st Transport Wing with a ceremony at Orléans-Bricy Air Base today. Government officials from France and the United States also attended the ceremony, along with representatives from Lockheed Martin.
    France will receive a total of four Super Hercules aircraft — two C-130J-30 combat delivery airlifters and two KC-130J aerial refuelers — through a Foreign Military Sale with the U.S. government, with deliveries taking place through 2019. The first of these aircraft (a C-130J-30 airlifter) was formally delivered to France in December 2017 at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Georgia, in the United States.
    France first acquired C-130Hs in 1987 and its new C-130Js will be operated with its existing Hercules fleet.
    "As a long-time Hercules operator, France has continuously demonstrated to the world the unmatched qualities and versatility found only in a C-130," said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, Air Mobility & Maritime Missions at Lockheed Martin. "France's new Super Hercules fleet delivers increased power, speed and capabilities to ensure that Armée de l'Air crews continue to meet — and exceed — mission requirements for decades to come."
    France is the 17th country to choose the C-130J for its airlift needs. The C-130J Super Hercules is the most advanced tactical airlifter in operation today, offering superior performance and enhanced capabilities with the range and versatility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements.
     
    C-130J 61-PO c/n 5836

  • Casey

    The EC-130H Compass Call is a modified Hercules tasked with various types of signals surveillance, interdiction, and disruption. According to the U.S. Air Force official fact sheets, “the Compass Call system employs offensive counter-information and electronic attack (or EA) capabilities in support of U.S. and Coalition tactical air, surface, and special operations forces.”
    The USAF EC-130H overall force is quite small, consisting of only 14 aircraft, based at Davis-Monthan AFB (DMAFB), in Tucson, Arizona and belonging to the 55th Electronic Combat Group (ECG) and its two squadrons: the 41st and 43rd Electronic Combat Squadrons (ECS). Also based at DMAFB and serving as the type training unit is the 42nd ECS that operates a lone TC-130H trainer along with some available EC-130Hs made available by the other front-line squadrons.
    The role of the Compass Call is to disrupt the enemy’s ability to command and control their forces by finding, prioritizing and targeting the enemy communications. This means that the aircraft is able to detect the signals emitted by the enemy’s communication and control gear and jam them so that the communication is denied. The original mission of the EC-130H was SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses): the Compass Call were to jam the enemy’s IADS (Integrated Air Defense Systems) and to prevent interceptors from talking with the radar controllers on the ground (or aboard an Airborne Early Warning aircraft). Throughout the years, the role has evolved, making the aircraft a platform capable of targeting also the signals between UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and their control stations.
    Although it’s not clear whether this ability has already been translated into an operational capability, in 2015, a USAF EC-130H Compass Call aircraft has also been involved in demos where it attacked networks from the air: a kind of in-flight hacking capability that could be particularly useful to conduct cyber warfare missions where the Electronic Attack aircraft injects malware by air-gapping closed networks.
    With about one-third of the fleet operating in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (indeed, four EC-130Hs, teaming up with the RC-135 Rivet Joint and other EA assets, are operating over Iraq and Syria to deny the Islamic State the ability to communicate), the fact that a single EC-130H (73-1590 “Axis 43”) was recently deployed from Davis Monthan AFB to Osan Air Base, South Korea, where it arrived via Yokota, on Jan. 4, 2018, it’s pretty intriguing.

  • Casey

    Marines with the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 out of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, N.C., the oldest continually active squadron in the Marine Corps, along with their J-model C-130 arrived here in Reno on Wednesday, January 10th. They came to Reno to partake in Advanced Mountain Airlift Tactics School (AMATS) training with the 192nd Airlift Squadron “High Rollers” at the Nevada Air National Guard base.

    This is the first time the High Rollers have hosted the Marine Corps for “joint” flight training with members of another service branch in the AMATS course. The 192nd provides the training to those units who want to come out and fly with them.

    AMATS Instructor Pilot Maj. Joe Jaquish said, “Reno offers an exclusive training area that consists of a series of isolated mountain ranges and intervening valleys ranging from 4,000 – 11,000 feet. It also contains local drop zones (DZs) and landing zones (LZs) which are textbook for high desert and mountain training. The terrain closely correlates to that of some of the many countries to which the United States military deploys. The flying course focuses on teaching safe and effective mountain flying.”

    One of the visiting Marine Corps pilots, Capt. Nick Johnson, said that they have no specific training in the Marine Corps like this and that it serves multiple purposes, “We only fly in and around our base, and, being on the East coast, the terrain is nothing like when you deploy. The terrain around Reno is very similar to the countries we deploy to and it makes tactical sense to fly somewhere similar to the deployed locations.”

    AMATS is a two-phase C-130 flying syllabus designed to create tactical experts by instructing C-130 H and J-model aircrew in the advanced principles of planning and execution to safely and effectively employ in the high density altitude mountainous environment.

    Two other visiting Marine Corps pilots, 1st Lts. Ian Penn and Mike Carps agreed that it’s not only the flying that’s great training, “This course offers hands-on mission planning that is not Marine Corps centric, the opportunity to train with the Air National Guard is fantastic because they do things a little differently than we do and that gives us a better understanding of the C-130’s capabilities.”

    Johnson also stated that they just happened to hear about the course and feel very lucky to have been picked to attend. “We will take what lessons we learn here back to our squadron and hope to get other crews out to Reno for more training.”

    The 192nd Airlift Squadron’s local flying course, AMATS, has been a valuable training course for pilots from the active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. The 192nd can now add Marine Corps pilots to their growing list of attendees

  • Casey

    A Tampa company has been awarded a $40 million contract to help foreign military pilots learn how to fly C-130 transport planes.
    Those are the big boys that transport everything from equipment to soldiers and even fly into hurricanes.
    The 5-year deal with the company named CAE could also benefit our local economy. 
    Located just north of Tampa International Airport, you'd never know what goes on inside the nondescript building, and that’s probably the way they like it since some of what CAE does is top secret. 
    But for this story, the company let us past security to show you why they just landed a $40 million defense contract.
    The five-year deal will help foreign militaries learn to fly C-130 aircraft using CAE’s massive flight simulators. 
    “Obviously, the U.S. Air Force wants to make sure they're properly trained so they can support not only their missions, but support missions in which the U.S. needs assistance,” said CAE USA’s President Ray Duquette.
    Every button knob and switch inside the simulator is identical to the real thing.
    The C-130 has been a versatile go-to workhorse for more than 50 years, transporting people, equipment, even flying into storms.
    One of the big reasons foreign militaries will send pilots to CAE for their training is so they don't have to use a real aircraft in their countries.
    However, CAE software can change the terrain, weather, lighting conditions, almost anything to replicate the areas those pilots come from.
    “So this is a good way of being exposed to the elements, to the environment, to the threats that are out there, and to potential emergencies at the may encounter,” said Duquette.
    CAE's simulators, which mimic the real thing in stunning detail, also cost a fraction of flying real aircraft.
    Under the military contract, each year nearly 1,500 people will come to Tampa to train from all over the globe.
    They’ll stay at local hotels and eat at local restaurants, boosting the local economy. 
    “We bring them in,” said Duquette, “They could be here for a week. Some of them are initial pilots, so they have been trained in the C-130, so they're going through that initial training. And that could be months of training.”
    CAE also manufactured the flight simulator that trains pilots to operate the KC-135. Those are the huge refueling tankers that fly out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
    The operation may be all about simulations, but the international military alliances being forged here over the next five years are very real.

  • Casey

    Uruguay is among the pioneering nations in the Antarctic Treaty, keeping military personnel and scientific staff on the frozen continent year-round to conduct research studies for the benefit of all mankind. The Uruguayan Air Force (FAU, in Spanish) already made its first and second flights for the 2017-2018 Summer Campaign in support of General José Artigas Scientific Base in Antarctica. A C-130 Hercules (FAU 591) from the 3rd Air Transport Squadron was deployed for that purpose.
    Uruguayan Minister of Defense Jorge Menéndez attended the plane’s departure and announced the signing of an agreement to process the first patent of the National Antarctic Program between the Uruguayan Ministry of Defense and the University of the Republic of Uruguay. “For more than 30 years, our nation maintained a permanent presence in Antarctica, in accordance with a state policy to promote an Antarctic policy aligned with United Nations’ goals for sustainable development,” Menéndez said prior to the first flight’s departure on November 7th, 2017. “Uruguay joined the Antarctic Treaty in 1980, and since October 7th, 1985, has been one of the 29 advisory members among the 53 nations in the treaty,” the minister added.
    Annual campaign
    FAU plans to carry out a total of five flights during the campaign, adding flights in January, February, and April to those conducted in November and December. A crew will also remain on 24-hour standby in case of emergency during Operation ANTARKOS.
    “On November 7th and December 18th, we made two flights, bringing in provisions and transferring scientific staff to the base that Uruguay has set up in Antarctica,” said to Diálogo FAU Lieutenant Colonel Martín Campoamor, commander of the 3rd Air Transport Squadron. Before each of these special flights, explained Lt. Col. Campoamor, a planning meeting is held, where all data on weather conditions, cargo and passengers is brought together. “Emphasis is always on weather conditions, which is what most limits our operations in Antarctica, where you also have to be very cautious when using the runway, due to visibility conditions.”
    Each flight departs from the 1st Air Brigade, stationed next to Carrasco International Airport, on the outskirts of Montevideo. From there, it heads to Punta Arenas, the regional capital of Magallanes and of the Chilean Antarctic, where it makes the first layover after a five-hour flight. The next leg is to King George Island in Antarctica, which takes another three hours.
    The Uruguayan Navy complements the support task to the Uruguayan scientific base. On December 2nd, 2017, the Lüneburg-class logistics supply ship General Artigas ROU-04 left port from Montevideo. Its main mission is to transfer tons of provisions, fuel, and construction materials to supply the base during the mission that will run through 2018. During its operations, the crew carries out a classification and waste treatment process, according to established environmental protocol, which requires that no waste be disposed of in Antarctica. Upon its return, ROU-04 will bring back compressed, packaged, and sealed shredded glass, plastics, and metals for final disposal in Uruguay.
    Historic flight
    The C-130 Hercules conducted a historic flight in support of Argentina, when it was deployed to transfer cargo from Rio Gallegos, in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, to the Argentinean Antarctic base Marambio, on December 13th. It was the first time that a FAU aircraft landed at that location.
    “We were on the first leg of the second flight to King George Island in support of the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute. Once we landed, we were enlisted to complete the mission in Marambio, given how both of the Argentine Air Force’s Hercules planes were down,” Lt. Col. Campoamor said. “They needed to transfer diesel to their base to keep everything heated and running—it was running out of supply—so we quickly requested all the information needed, such as weather and runway conditions. It was an honor to carry out that mission, which burnished the reputation of the Uruguayan Air Force and Uruguay as well.”
    FAU has made flights to support General Artigas Scientific Base in Antarctica since 1984. It made its first flight on January 28th of that year with Fairchild Hiller FH-227 aircraft and later used Aviocar C-212 aircraft. Today, FAU carries out campaigns with two C-130 Hercules acquired in 1991.


  • Casey

    Cascade Aerospace Inc. (Cascade) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a contract for the avionics modernization of one Fuerza Aérea Mexicana (FAM) L-100 (C-130) Hercules aircraft.  This contract follows on the recent delivery of two modernized C-130K Hercules aircraft delivered to the FAM and fitted with advanced digital avionics from Rockwell Collins.
    This program will be contracted through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) under the auspices of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Canadian and Mexican governments.
    "Completing the C-130 fleet modernization represents a significant milestone for Cascade and affirms our excellent relationship with the Mexican Air Force as a support provider of choice since 2013,"  said Cascade's COO & EVP, Kevin Lemke. "The upgrade of this aircraft will establish a common cockpit configuration for the entire FAM C-130 fleet thereby enhancing fleet capability as well as providing efficiencies in maintenance, training, and operational availability."
    This modernization program includes the installation and integration of an advanced Rockwell Collins Flight2 TM digital avionics suite. In addition, Cascade will provide operational and technical training for Mexican Air Force personnel at the company's facility and headquarters in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
    About Cascade Aerospace
    Cascade Aerospace, an operating unit of IMP Aerospace & Defense, is a leading Canadian specialty aerospace contractor that provides long-term integrated aircraft fleet support and program management, aircraft maintenance, modification, engineering & integrated logistics support to domestic and international military, government, and commercial customers.
    About Canadian Commercial Corporate (CCC)
    Established in 1946, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) is a Federal Crown corporation of the Government of Canada that acts as Canada's international contracting and procurement agency. CCC reports to Parliament through the Minister of International Trade.
    CCC acts as the prime contractor for foreign governments who wish to contract with Canadian companies and expertise through a government-to-government channel. CCC's strong relationships with international buyers and access to Canada's innovative industrial base, puts CCC in a unique position to facilitate and promote international trade.

  • Casey
     

    The United States Air Force (USAF) has awarded its Rolls-Royce T56 Engine Depot Overhaul contract to StandardAero, allowing the company to continue its support of the USAF fleet of C-130H aircraft for an additional 8 ½ years, as an exclusive provider.  The total contract value is more than $600M and work will be performed at StandardAero’s facilities in San Antonio, Texas and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
    The competition for the award was conducted in 2017, following a series of short-duration T56 maintenance contracts.  The contract was awarded in late December.
    Under the new agreement, StandardAero will continue to provide the same high quality support the USAF has experienced previously, but at a reduced cost.  In addition, the contract now includes support for the new 3.5 engine configuration and associated components.
    “This is a fantastic achievement for our T56 teams in San Antonio and Winnipeg, who have continuously earned high performance ratings for our Air Force customer,” said Mark Buongiorno, VP/GM of StandardAero San Antonio.  “With this longer duration contract, we can work with the USAF to focus on time-on-wing improvement initiatives, which will help optimize the life-cycle-cost savings for the fleet of T56 engines.”  
    “Our San Antonio facility now has a broad and continued volume of work, and strong relationship with the USAF, U.S. Navy and OEMs,” said Scott Starrett, President of StandardAero Military and Energy division.  “We will continue to leverage new growth opportunities for our facility, and for other StandardAero divisions.”

  • Casey

    The new capability to train and certify craftsman technicians will enable the government of Iraq to redirect funds away from contractor requirements to efforts of rebuilding infrastructure and cities and promoting stability and economic progression.
    “Today marks another forward step for the Iraqi Air Force towards a brighter future,” said Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen Husni Khazaal Al maliki, Al Muthana Technical Wing commander. “A promising future that I could see reflected in the faces of all of our graduates, due to their achievements. The dedication and hard work are very appreciated by both the students and their instructors. At the same time, I urge all graduates to continue this hard work throughout their professional life in the Iraqi Air Force and to help this wounded country stand strong against enemies of humanity.” During the ceremony, Husni thanked the instructors and air advisors assigned to the 770th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron for making sacrifices to help Iraq and for being away from their families and friends during the holiday season.
    In 2006, advisors from the 770th AEAS began introducing career field education training plans to Iraqi Air Force work center. CFETPs are comprehensive education and training documents which identify the training requirements and minimum core tasks needed for technicians to be signed off as being proficient in a specialty.
    Upon a recent review of Iraqi Air Force aircraft maintenance proficiency data, the advisors identified a critical shortage of certified 7-level craftsmen maintainers. Craftsmen are expected to be fully qualified technicians who have proven they are ready to fill various supervisory and management positions.
    #x-video-ad-asset-container .video-responsive-ad, #x-video-ad-asset-container-played .video-responsive-ad {position: relative!important; padding-bottom: 56.25%!important; padding-top: 30px;height: 0; overflow: hidden; }#x-video-ad-asset-container, #x-video-ad-asset-container-played { max-height: 0px; overflow: hidden; -webkit-transition: max-height 1s; -moz-transition: max-height 1s; transition: max-height 1s; }#x-video-ad-asset-container.expand { max-height: 1500px; margin-bottom: 20px; }                       Pause Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 0:00 Remaining Time -0:00 Stream TypeLIVE Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 Fullscreen   00:00 Unmute Playback Rate 1 Subtitles subtitles off Captions captions off Chapters Chapters   The air advisors also determined there was a need to establish a maintenance training standard comparable to the U.S. Air Force, which requires 40% of qualified personnel to have their 7-level certification.
    Lt. Col. Ronald Llantada, 770th AEAS commander said this 40% target will enable the Iraqi Air Force to take care of their home station aircrew training and mission requirements. This will give them the ability to employ their C-130J aircraft at other locations dictated by their mission.
    Llantada commended his team for objectively assessing and identifying the training requirements required to improve Iraqi Air Force capabilities, enabling them to achieve the self-sufficiency they desire. He said their work generated a great return of effort and set a path for their replacements to continue the forward progression.
    “As advisors, relationships greatly matter when trying to move the ball forward in a partnered journey,” said Llantada. “I would like to personally thank Brig. Gen. Husni for being receptive to our team’s recommendations, being ready to make decisions for the betterment of the Iraqi Air Force and for his hospitality and a friendship."
    Husni echoed this sentiment.
    “Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave special thanks to C-130J personnel and emphasized how essential the C-130J’s role in the liberation and defeat of ISIS,” said Husni. “The support and training given by the 770th AEAS directly impacted (the liberation), saving the Iraqi population and allowed for the rescue of the Sinjar people.”

  • Casey

    The Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing briefly welcomed home the Air Force's first fully-upgraded C-130H, Saturday. This aircraft is the first C-130H to receive extensive upgrades allowing the Air National Guard to remain competitive with the C-130J found primarily at active-duty wings.
    During the past 18 months, this specific aircraft has been at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, receiving three separate engine-related modifications
    aiming to make the legacy aircraft more efficient.

    These modifications include upgrading to an eight bladed NP2000 propeller, replacing the original four metal propellers; switching to an electronic
    propeller controlled system; and equipping the aircraft with Rolls-Royce T56 series 3.5 engines.

    "We are very excited to be getting the NP2000 props, the electronic propeller control system, and the 3.5 series engine upgrades," said Maj.
    Leanna Thomas, 153rd Airlift Wing chief of safety and C-130H pilot. "With these modifications, we'll see significant improvements that have been
    needed to ensure longevity and mission flexibility."

    While there are various wings across the Air National Guard that have C-130H's, the Wyoming Air National Guard was chosen specifically because of
    its involvement in the initial testing with the EPCS and NP2000 back in 2008, when the Air Force was first exploring the idea of upgrading the H-model.

    Collectively, these upgrades will increase performance, fuel efficiency, and reliability of the aircraft, which will sustain the life and relevance of
    the H-model. Additionally, they will allow Air National Guard units to cut costs by not having to upgrade to its successor, the C-130J.

    "When we add these modifications to all of our aircraft, we will greatly increase the reliability and performance of the C-130H, and the overall
    lethality of the United States Air Force," said Col. Justin Walrath, 153rd Airlift Wing commander.

    While the unit is looking forward to the modified legacy aircraft, further testing will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, before the remainder
    of 153rd's fleet and C-130Hs across the Air Force are upgraded.

  • Casey

    After nearly a decade of on-again-off-again testing, a one-of-a-kind C-130H Hercules airlifter from the Wyoming Air National Guard is on its way for an evaluation of its latest configuration, which includes upgraded engines and eight-bladed propellers with an advanced electronic control system. Refitting other H-model aircraft with the same modifications could potentially save the U.S. Air Force millions in operating costs, but it’s unclear when this might happen.
    On Jan. 6, 2018, the C-130H from the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, serial number 92-1536, arrived at the unit’s home at Cheyenne Regional Airport in the state’s capital. The aircraft would receive minor repairs before heading to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida for two years of tests, according a report from the Wyoming Tribute Eagle.
    It’s a culmination of years of effort for the [153rd Airlift Wing] and for the Wyoming Air National Guard,” U.S. Air Force Colonel Paul Lyman, commander of the Wyoming Air National Guard, told the Tribute Eagle. “All we have now is postulated data, but we will see performance [with the modified H model] that is on the par with the J model,” U.S. Air Force Colonel Kevin Campbell, the National Guard director of plans and requirements, added.
    Since 2008, the 92-1536 has served as test bed for a number of proposed modifications to more than 130 other H-series aircraft still in service across the Air National Guard. The aircraft now has three particularly significant sets of improvements. The most noticeable is the addition of eight-bladed Hamilton Sundstrand NP2000 propellers to each of the four turboprop engines. These are already standard on the U.S. Navy’s E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and control aircraft and C-2 Greyhound carrier on-board delivery (COD) planes.
    The new propellers vibrate less and make less noise and the aircraft gains increased thrust at equivalent engine torque settings, in turn improving fuel efficiency. A built-in balancing system reduces the need for ground crews to balance the prop manually at regular intervals and fewer vibrations mean less stress on the aircraft as a whole, further reducing the need for maintenance. As an added bonus, the NP2000 is a modular design that takes up less storage space in warehouses or room inside any aircraft, ship, or vehicle delivering spares to established bases or deployed locations.
    On top of that, the updated aircraft has an electronic propeller control system, or EPCS, that makes the units more responsive when the crew rapidly advances the throttle. This Air National Guard says this improves the overall reliability of the propellers by approximately 50 percent and removes a safety issue that had contributed to previous mishaps.
    The latest addition to 92-1536 is four Rolls-Royce T-56 Series 3.5 turboprop engines that are more fuel efficient and reliable, saving an estimated $250,000 dollars every year on the cost to operate each aircraft, according to the manufacturer's website. 
    The U.K.-headquartered engine maker completed flight testing of the uprated design in 2012 and the Air Force certified it in 2015. In addition to being an option for older C-130s, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has installed the engines on its WP-3D hurricane hunter aircraft.
    “We're confident right now that we'll see in excess of 12 percent fuel savings and upwards of 25 percent increased time on wing, which will reduce maintenance time,” Colonel Campbell sain in 2016. “Those are substantial, and would provide a fairly rapid return on investment. This upgrade would pay for itself; the real question is 'how fast?' We're pretty excited about it and think we're going to hit it at about the 5 year mark.”
    At present, the Air National Guard is hoping to modify 134 more C-130Hs to this standard as part of an upgrade program that will cost approximately $1.3 billion in total. Taken together, though, the modifications could potentially save millions in operating and sustainment costs for the aging airlifters.
    But it’s not clear when this project might wrap up, or even really get going. In February 2016, Rolls Royce did deliver the first Series 3.5 engine upgrade kits to the Air National Guard as part of a $36 million dollar contract, but which only covered the aircraft belonging to the 109th and 153rd Airlift Wings.
    As already noted, though, the first of these upgrades have been in the works since 2008. At that time, the main focus was updating the capability of the ski-equipped LC-130Hs of the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing, a fleet of unique aircraft that support the U.S. government’s Antarctic research missions.
    These aircraft rely on jet-assisted take-off, or JATO, to get off the ice for the return trip. The problem was that the Air Force had a dwindling supply of these rocket motors, which it first bought in the 1950s. The Air National Guard initially considered the NP2000 upgrade by itself as a possible solution, hiring Lockheed Martin to Modify a small number of LC-130Hs before shelving the effort.
    There was also interest within the Air Force's special operations community in the NP2000, the EPCS, and 3.5 Series engines, among other upgrades, which could have potentially expanded the capabilities of MC-130H Combat Talon II special operations transport and reduced its auditory signature. The latter point was of particular interest given the aircraft’s mission to insert and extract elite troops from austere locations with limited take-off and landing space within hostile territory.
    Though there would be a "high initial cost," Air Force Special Operations Command estimated adding the NP2000s would have resulted in a three percent fuel saving across MC-130H operations, reduced the aircraft’s take-off run by between 500 to 1000 feet, increased its ceiling by 1,000 feet, and provided a five percent increase in reliability. The 3.5 Series engines could have led to an eight percent fuel savings and a more than 20 percent improvement in aircraft reliability, along with nearly 20 percent more thrust.
    Those upgrades did not come to pass, however. In 2015, the Air Force retired the first MC-130H as part of move to ultimately replace the fleet with MC-130Js. That same year, the service retired the AC-130H gunship, as well. The H-based AC-130U and AC-130W remain in service, but the plan is for the new AC-130J to eventually supplant at least the U models.
    In August 2017, Inside Defense reported that the New York Air National Guard was in talks with Lockheed Martin about a potential LC-130J model to outright replace its older aircraft. All of this reflects a steadily, if slowly shrinking C-130H fleet across both the active Air Force and its reserve components, all of which could reduce the impetus to pursue the upgrade project. 
    As of 2014, the Air National Guard had a requirement to upgrade 154 H-models. The next year, this number had dropped to 135. By 2020, when the tests of the latest iteration of the Wyoming Air National Guard’s prototype upgraded C-130H finish up, the total fleet may have shrunk even more. The last active duty H-model headed to the Bone Yard in October 2017.
    In addition, the C-130Hs, which first entered service in 1974, are running up against separate airworthiness issues as the aircraft’s center wing box ages out. Between 2007 and 2013, Lockheed Martin received a more than $650 million contract to replace these sections on more than 100 H-model aircraft, but not nearly the entire fleet across the active and reserve components. The plan also involved slowing the C-130J production by taking newly made wing boxes off that assembly line and installing them in older aircraft.
    Though the engine and propeller upgrades could expand their capability, the remaining C-130Hs might still need a another service life extension program in order to keep flying long enough for the cost savings to materialize. As of 2007, adding a new wing box cost to just one of the older aircraft an estimated $6.5 million.
    At the same time, Lockheed Martin is continuing produce the more advanced C-130J, as well as LM-100Js for the civilian commercial market. As time goes on, and unit prices drop, the Air Force may decide it is simpler and not significantly more expensive to just replace the older C-130Hs. The cost factor may be increasingly less an issue overall if President Donald Trump and his administration can follow through on their plans to dramatically expand the United States’ defense budget.
    All told, by the time the 153rd’s C-130H returns from Florida, at which point this modernization effort will have effectively been going on for more than a decade, the Air National Guard’s understanding of its future needs, and its available options, may have change significantly.

  • Casey

    Lockheed Martin’s Marietta facility will open a training center this summer aimed at preparing pilots and crews to operate aircraft models produced at the Cobb plant.
    The Hercules Training Center, according to company documents, will feature academic classroom space, training devices and full-motion simulator facilities to train those who pilot or serve on the crew of the C-130J Super Hercules military tactical airlifter and LM-100J commercial multi-purpose air freighter. Both aircraft are built at the Marietta facility.
    The 7,000-square-foot training center was first announced in September 2015 and broke ground in June 2016. It is being developed and will be managed by the company’s Rotary and Mission Systems business unit. The Marietta plant is part of Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics unit; both units will work together in support of the center. A grand opening for the center is set to occur in June, according to Kayla Stanley, spokesperson for the Rotary and Mission Systems unit.
    Lockheed Martin’s Marietta plant employs more than 5,000, putting it consistently in Cobb’s top 10 largest employers, according to figures compiled by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. So far, according to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics spokesperson Stephanie Stinn, the training center has led to seven new hires for the company, though a total of 20 new employees are expected moving forward.
    Its impact to the county, Stinn said, will be in helping Lockheed Martin remain “a longtime economic driver” for Cobb, Georgia and the Southeast.
    “Any additional business opportunities that we can offer at the facility ultimately contribute to Cobb County’s business community and economy,” Stinn said. “While we can’t directly pinpoint the anticipated economic impact at this time, we do believe the training center and the capabilities it brings to the aviation industry further elevate Cobb County’s and Georgia’s reputation as a leading contributor to the global aviation community.”
    The Hercules Training Center will focus on two aircraft with roots deep in Marietta’s modern history.
    The C-130J Super Hercules is the latest model of the C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, which began production in 1954 and is the longest continuously running military production line in history, with every production C-130 having been built in Marietta. In December 2015, the company announced the Marietta plant had delivered its 2,500th C-130.
    Today, the C-130 is among the fleets of air forces of 18 countries and has the ability to transport more than 40,000 pounds of cargo and supplies. The first C-130J was delivered in 1998 and since then more than 375 C-130Js have been completed, according to company data released this month.
    Based on the C-130J Super Hercules, the first model of the commercial variant LM-100J took flight last year. The LM-100J is capable of everything that the C-130J is, from humanitarian relief to oil spill response, firefighting and more. Other potential uses include medevac/air ambulance and VIP transport.
    The civil aircraft is aimed at those who currently operate the company’s L-100s, the commercial variant of the first generation C-130. Among those who operate L-100s include government entities and private freight companies.
    Sharon Mason, president and CEO of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, says the impending opening of the Hercules Training Center would be a win not only for Lockheed, but for the Cobb community at large.
    “It will help meet the global training demands to continue expanding Lockheed’s investment in training the next workforce generation and will be a tremendous asset to their customers to have this training center and production in the same location,” Mason said. “We are proud to have Lockheed in Marietta and look forward to continue supporting them in this investment for our community.”

  • Casey

    In the illustrious 94-year history of the Flying Yankees, 2017 was a year that stood out. It was a year of change but, above all, a year of achievements for the 103rd Airlift Wing.

    The most significant change was the conversion to a tactical airlift mission early in the year. The unit, which had previously flown the A-10, now files the C-130.

    The Flying Yankees were put to the test when they were tasked to deploy with their C-130s just five months after the mission conversion. Nearly 400 members of the unit deployed to various locations overseas; 1,341 combat sorties were completed during those short deployments. In total, the Flying Yankees flew 2,503.9 hours and managed to accomplish every mission that they were tasked with that year.

    “I think that we had an amazing year,” said Col. Roy Walton, Vice Wing Commander, 103rd Airlift Wing. “It was the first time we ever deployed with our C-130s, and that was just a mere five months after we came out of conversion. We pushed out 250 folks, 100 from ACS [Air Control Squadron], who did an amazing job of running one million square miles of airspace. In addition to that, we had another 150 expeditionary combat support folks and 100 of those are still deployed and contributing to the war-fighting efforts.”

    Shortly after the Flying Yankees returned from performing their federal mission overseas, they were tasked with a domestic mission—hurricane relief.

    In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated southeast Texas. In response, the 103rd undertook its first Hurricane Disaster Relief Mission utilizing C-130s. Then, just days later, the Flying Yankees were in the air again, headed to Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, with six tons of disaster-relief cargo in response to Hurricane Irma.

    “We got home and no sooner than we were home, the hurricane season kicked in,” said Walton. “We flew an incredible amount of hours in support of that.”

    In support of hurricane relief, the unit transported more than 200 tons of cargo, which included food, water, power generators and supplies—and flew more than 261 military and civilian medical personnel in and out of disaster areas; the Air National Guard’s unique ability to respond rapidly and effectively in the event of a natural disaster was on full-display, courtesy of the 103rd Airlift Wing.

    “That’s the unique part of the Guard,” said Walton. “We have a federal mission, which we did 1,341 sorties. Then, we have our state, domestic mission; the amount of hours we flew, the amount of cargo we moved, the amount of people we moved in—we took medical, security forces, comm and small air terminal people and put them down in the areas that were affected by the hurricane. They were there to make a difference. In terms of hurricane relief, the numbers speak for themselves.”

    2017 was a busy year, but not too busy for the Flying Yankees to reach out to the community that supports them every day. The wing hosted events such as Bring-a-Friend to Drill Day, in which new Air National Guard enlistees invite friends on base to get an idea of what it’s like to serve in the 103rd Airlift Wing. Additionally, 103rd recruiters and public affairs staff gave several base tours to members of local organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America and the Civil Air Patrol.

    The year of changes and achievements ended appropriately, with yet another major change. After more than eight years as commander of the 103rd Airlift Wing, Col. Frank Detorie relinquished command, and Col. Stephen Gwinn assumed command of the 103rd Airlift Wing. Looking forward, plans for the wing include continuing to build on what Col. Detorie has achieved, not only through the outstanding performance of the members, but with base improvements; more than 30 million dollars in construction projects have been completed on Bradley Air National Guard Base and more projects are underway.

    Given all that the 103rd Airlift Wing accomplished, 2017 can be summed up in one word: Extraordinary.

    “2017 captured the uniqueness of the Guard,” said Walton. “We did our federal mission in an outstanding manner and, when called upon, we did our domestic mission and did it in an outstanding manner. We went out there and proved that, not only did we successfully convert to the C-130, but, operationally, we’re one of the best units out there doing it. It’s been an extraordinary year.”

  • Casey

    Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group has received a contract from France's Service Industrial de l’Aéronautique (SIAé) to provide engineering services to the French Air Force fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft, the company announced on 22 December.
    The contract will see Marshall provide engineering services to ensure high availability of the 14 strong fleet. The work involves technical services over a transition period, followed by four years of full service delivery with two additional option periods.
    Alistair McPhee, CEO of Marshall Aerospace and Defense Group, said: ‘We are proud to have been trusted to support the French Air Force Fleet of C-130H aircraft. Our experience, knowledge and skills, gained over 50 years on the C-130 platform is proven and we are extremely pleased to have won this competitive process.
    ‘This new contract to support the French Air Force C-130H fleet further strengthens our customer base, as we continue to expand the range of services that we deliver to international C-130 operators.’

  • Casey

    In October 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States, U.S. and British military forces were beginning a series of airstrikes on Afghanistan. They were there because the Islamic extremist Taliban had refused to turn over Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida extremist leader who orchestrated the attacks that took almost 3,000 lives and left twice that many people wounded.
    In mid-November, weeks after the airstrikes began, the Taliban would abandon the Afghan city of Kabul. In December, another Taliban stronghold, the city of Kandahar, would fall.
    Among the U.S. military personnel in and around Afghanistan during those weeks was Capt. Mark W. Miller, a navigator aboard one of the Air Force’s versatile workhorse C-130 aircraft. Assigned to the 8th Special Operations Squadron based at Hurlburt Field, on Nov. 2, 2001, Miller found himself guiding two C-130s as part of an effort to rescue 11 Americans whose helicopter had crashed in the mountains of Afghanistan.
    According to an official account, Miller’s “precise time control at a critical phase of flight culminated in a flawless aerial refueling of a fuel-critical helicopter, ensuring the safety of the crews and guaranteeing mission success. ... without his direction, the helicopter executing the rescue would have been forced to abort the mission and land behind enemy lines.”
    That account is from the citation accompanying the Distinguished Flying Cross presented to Miller in July 2003. The medal recognizes members of the U.S. armed services who demonstrate “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.”
    The sensitivity of the November 2001 mission is reflected in the citation issued to Miller, which notes only that his exploits occurred “at a classified location.” Other hints about the circumstances of the mission are found in the citation’s mentions of Miller “overcoming foul weather and degraded aircraft equipment in mountainous terrain deep inside enemy territory.”
    Miller’s heroics that day might have been lost to time if not for the purchase some months ago of the contents of a storage locker in Pensacola, and the ongoing efforts of David Blair, a Navy veteran who lives in Blountstown, a small town west of Tallahassee.
    Blair’s son, Terry, who buys the contents of storage lockers abandoned by their owners, learned last year that a friend had purchased a locker containing a framed display including Miller’s medal, his citation and a certificate signed by then-commander of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command, Gen. Hal M. Hornburg.
    Terry Blair and his friend turned the display over to David Blair, thinking that his military experience might give him some insight in how to find Miller, Blair explained. Blair has been retired for some time after spending 24 years in the Navy.
    Thus far, though, the effort to get the Distinguished Flying Cross back to Miller has been a frustrating experience for Blair, who said he has been on the telephone and the Internet intermittently since July of last year. In that time, Blair said he has contacted the offices of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the secretary of the Air Force and Hurlburt Field, all to no avail.
    Blair said Hurlburt Field personnel have told him they don’t have any records of Miller’s service. More frustrating for Blair is that both Nelson’s office and the secretary of the Air Force’s office have told him that they can’t really help track down Miller unless they have his Social Security number.
    "I can’t get anywhere because I don’t have his Social Security number,” Blair said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
    Blair’s own online efforts to track down Miller have been similarly unproductive. An Internet search led him to a Mark Miller in Georgia, who was not the medal recipient, Blair said. Calls by the Northwest Florida Daily News on Wednesday to Hurlburt Field’s Public Affairs office, Nelson’s office and the Air Force Public Affairs office did not produce any immediate information. However, all three offices did indicate they would check on any information they had on Miller and on Blair’s search for him.
    After being contacted Wednesday by the Daily News, Nelson’s Washington, D.C., office was working to get in touch with Blair.
    An Air Force spokesman could not say specifically Wednesday how the Air Force might be able to work to track down Miller, but he did say that the service has dealt with “a number of instances similar to this” and is committed to ensuring that misplaced or lost medals are returned to legitimate recipients.
    On another front, independent efforts by the Daily News to find Miller have thus far been unsuccessful.
    In the meantime, Blair said he is willing to hear from anyone who may have information about Miller’s whereabouts. He can be reached by telephone at 850-573-4247 or by email at [email protected]
     
    This citation, accompanying the Distinguished Flying Cross awarded more than 14 years ago to then-Capt. Mark W. Miller of the 8th Special Operations Squadron, details the critical role his navigation played in the rescue of 11 Americans in Afghanistan:
    Captain Mark W. Miller distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as MC-130E Combat Talon Navigator, 8th Special Operations Squadron (Deployed) at a classified location on 2 November 2001. On that date, Captain Miller’s exemplary knowledge and outstanding airmanship, displayed under extremely hazardous conditions, culminated in the successful rescue of 11 Americans from the mountains of Afghanistan following the crash of their helicopter. During the rescue, Captain Miller’s precise time control at a critical phase of flight culminated in a flawless aerial refueling of a fuel-critical helicopter, ensuring the safety of the crews and guaranteeing mission success. Orbiting within 20 miles of the crash site, Captain Miller directed his formation of Talons to an on-time rendezvous with the rescue helicopter at 11,500 feet mean sea level while overcoming foul weather and degraded aircraft equipment in mountainous terrain deep inside enemy territory. His precision navigation was critical to the two Talons reaching the refueling point on time; without his direction, the helicopter executing the rescue would have been forced to abort the mission and land behind enemy lines. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Miller reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
     

  • Casey

    Six years after Congress pulled the plug on a sweeping overhaul and modernization of the C-130H workhorse airlifter, President Trump on Tuesday signed into law a $700 billion defense bill that earmarks $200 million to restart avionics modernization upgrade and a 2.4 percent pay increase for airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base and throughout the military.
    The decision to upgrade the planes dates back to at least 2005 and has been plagued with cost overruns and bidding irregularities. Lockheed manufactures the planes, but in the past, Boeing developed and manufactured the AMP kits.
    “I appreciate President Trump signing into law a bill that continues our support for Arkansans — and their families — serving in our nation’s military. This is the 54th consecutive year that Congress has worked in a bipartisan fashion to ensure funding for vital functions of our armed forces,” Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) said Tuesday.
    “This includes more than $200 million for modernization for the C-130 Hercules fleet, which is the backbone of our Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard airmen and airwomen at Little Rock Air Force Base. It also gives our military personnel a much-deserved 2.4 percent pay increase. Our military is the most effective military in the world, and our brave men and women in uniform deserve the funding, tools, and support to successfully complete their strategic missions around the globe,” Hill said.
    Little Rock Air Force Base is considered the premiere C-130 base in the world, trains most C-130 crew member for U.S. allies and is a center of excellence.
    In mid-2016, 54 C-130Hs were on the air base and 28 state-of-the-art C-130Js.
    Before 2007, the cost of an AMP upgrade was projected at $14 million per aircraft, but Boeing engineers cut it then to about $7 million. At that time, the cost of a new, state-of-the-art C-130J was about $85 million.
    Little Rock Air Force Base received the first five C-130H AMPs in 2011 for testing, but when the program was shelved, those planes were grounded.
    Initially, a $5.8 billion avionics modernization program was intended to standardize the cockpits and avionics of roughly 500 C-130s of about 13 different types, but due to cost and schedule overruns and development problems, the Pentagon scaled the program back in 2005 to 222 planes.
    In 2016, the Air Force anticipated upgrading 172 C-130Hs, but it is not clear how many aircraft would be modernized and to what extent. Communications upgrades are required by the Federal Aviation Agency by January 2020 or those planes will have to avoid preferred routes both in the U.S. and Europe.
    The Associated Press reports that the bill, which also includes money for missile-defense programs to counter North Korea’s nuclear threats, won’t be operational unless Congress overturns a 2011 law limiting federal spending, including for the Defense Department.

  • Casey

    The U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules has made its debut in Operation Christmas Drop 2017.
    Over the past year, Yokota Air Base has transitioned from the C-130H Hercules to the newer C-130J model. This is the first OCD that will utilize U.S. J-models, learning from the experience of the Royal Australian Air Force who have brought the C-130J to OCD for the past two years.
    “Operation Christmas Drop 2017 has been the first year the U.S. Air Force has brought the C-130J,” said RAAF Flight Lieutenant Omar Rigo, 37th Squadron C-130J Pilot. “It's been incredibly important to us to share information and to share that experience with the U.S. Air Force.”
    Although the Airmen have been receiving support from the RAAF, throughout the transition of the aircraft models, the aircrews have faced significant changes in their routine.
    One significant difference in the operation of the J-model from the H-model used in previous years in OCD, is the elimination of two aircrew positions — the navigator and the flight engineer.
    “The biggest changes are in our execution,” said Maj. Christopher Dolby, 36th Airlift Squadron mission commander. “The airdrop procedures aren't much different, but with the reduced crew positions, the method in which we actually do dynamic delivery, when it comes to pilots versus having someone up there to back you up, is very different.”
    Although this transition hasn’t come without challenges, the Airmen are up to the task and proved they are willing to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.
    “We've spent a lot of time over the past six months training our crew at home on different techniques and different tactics, how to do dynamic delivery in the J Model, which is not something we commonly do,” added Dolby. “That allows us to execute it safely right away. We've taken out most of the guess work in the actual execution of it.”
    In addition to the training received at Yokota, OCD presents a unique opportunity for the aircrews to train and learn from partner nations on the newer J-model.
    “OCD is great training for the aircrew,” said Maj. George Metros, 36th AS evaluator pilot. “We get to practice technique, tactics and procedures that we don’t necessarily get to practice on an everyday basis. Being able to validate those techniques that we’ve developed and put them to practical use is very rewarding.”
    Yokota's 36th AS is the world's leader in advancing Low-Cost Low-Altitude airdrop capabilities. Each year, OCD serves as a proving ground for the techniques used and shared with regional partners in preparation for response to natural disasters all too common across the region.
    “Our goal is to lead the planning, the execution, and to teach our partners how we use this new coastal humanitarian airdrop system and really to standardize it for everyone,” said Dolby.
    Along with the U.S. Air Force, the Philippine Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Koku Jeitai, are also gaining mission planning experience and their own perspective of what it takes to accomplish OCD.
    “I couldn't be more blessed to have the Japanese, the Australians, and the Filipinos in the capacities they're willing to serve down here,” said Dolby. “It goes to show that by standardizing and having the opportunity to do these training missions, we can really grow those allies out here and be able to continue to provide this capability to the region or throughout the world.”

  • Casey

    The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency plans to demonstrate an ability to launch and recover small drones from an Air Force C-130 aircraft as part of its continued development of the Gremlins program - a technical effort designed to deploy groups of small drones carrying 60-pound sensor payloads up to ranges of 300 nautical miles. 
    The program is expected to culminate in an air launch and recovery demonstration in 2019.
    The drones are intended to perform a range of missions, such as testing enemy air defenses and conducting ISR missions for an hour on station before returning to an Air Force C-130, developers said.
    A key concept of the program is extending the mission range of aircraft, while allowing manned crews to operate at safer distances.
    Gremlins moves beyond existing state-of-the-art programs able which are able to launch, but not recover, swarms of mini-drones. The Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office, an initiative aimed at harnessing near-term emerging technologies for operational use, demonstrated an ability to launch small drones from the flare dispenser of an F-16.
    While able to blanket areas with ISR and perform significant mission-enhancing functions, they are expendable and not available for re-use.
    “For decades, U.S. military air operations have relied on increasingly capable multi-function manned aircraft to execute critical combat and non-combat missions. Adversaries’ abilities to detect and engage those aircraft from longer ranges have improved over time as well,” said DARPA in a statement.
    Gremlins could well be described as a technological leap in manned-unmanned teaming beyond state of the art technology, as it enables drones to launch, perform missions and then return to a host aircraft. As algorithms for increased levels of autonomy advance, aircraft will be able to control drones from the cockpit with a pilot in a command and control role, service experts have explained.
    At the moment, Army helicopters can used "manned-unmanned" teaming to control the flight path and sensor payload of nearby drones, and the Air Force Chief Scientist Dr. Gregory Zacharias has told Warrior that F-35 and F-22 fighter jets may soon have the technical ability to navigate multiple drones from the air.
    The idea is to use unmanned aircraft to perform ISR missions, delivery weapons or test high-risk air defenses or enemy formations without putting pilots in harm's way.
    This day is fast approaching, given the pace of current progress developing algorithms enabling higher levels of autonomy, Zacharias has explained. 
    As of earlier this year, DARPA has continued its contract with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems to move Gremlins into the next phase of development, an effort which involves testing and a Preliminary Design Review.  
    The Gremlins’ expected lifetime of about 20 uses provides significant cost advantages over expendable systems by reducing payload and airframe costs and by having lower mission and maintenance costs than conventional platforms, a General Atomics statement said.
     “We see the potential for using this technology on our own Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper® to offer our customers new mission capabilities,” David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI, said in a written statement.

  • Casey

    It's not easy to get to Saint Michael, Alaska. Not even if you're Santa Claus.
    Luckily, jolly old St. Nick could hitch a ride on a military transport plane (HC-130J) to the tiny island community that's closer to Russia than Alaska's largest city, Anchorage.
    Santa and Mrs. Claus brought goodies that most Americans take for granted but come at a high cost in remote parts of the nation's largest state: toys, books, personal hygiene supplies, fresh fruit and even ice cream.
    For some children, the toy they received during the visit last week will be the only one they get this year. Others hadn't had real ice cream in years and have never seen Santa Claus in person.
    The visit marked the 61st year of the Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus, a community outreach program that tries to bring Kriss Kringle to two villages every year if the weather cooperates.
    A MAGICAL VISIT
    Like celebrities, Santa and Mrs. Claus, dressed in their red and white suits, waved as they stepped off the plane in the snow-covered Alaska Native village.
    Nearly the whole town, which is more than 400 miles west of the nearest mall Santa, packed the school gym and welcomed St. Nick with raucous applause.
    Every child, and even a few elders, got the chance to sit on his lap and whisper what they want for Christmas. Some kids just bawled their eyes out as they stared at Santa.
    SAINT MICHAEL
    The approximately 400 people of Yup'ik Eskimo and Russian heritage who live in the community off Alaska's western coast subsist on seal, beluga whale, moose, caribou, fish and berries.
    Getting to cities like Fairbanks or Anchorage is a major expense, whether to see Santa or gather supplies, because of the state's limited road system.
    So Mayor Bobbi Andrews jumped at the chance to host Santa in the town, which was once the farthest north Russian settlement in Alaska in the 19th century, according to a state database of communities.
    Saint Michael later boasted a population of nearly 10,000 when it served as an entry point during the 1897 Gold Rush, when miners used the nearby Yukon River to travel to interior Alaska.
    PLANES, PICKUPS AND DOG SLEDS
    The Alaska National Guard does the heavy lifting of getting Santa and his helpers to remote villages. Once the plane lands, however, it's up to the community to get people to the event.
    In Saint Michael, a passenger van and pickup trucks ferried folks the 2 miles into town. In other villages, the transportation has ranged from a warm vehicle to sitting on a fur-lined dog sled pulled over snowy, bumpy roads by a snowmobile.
    A CHRISTMAS TREAT
    Ice cream seems like the wrong thing to bring people living in the frozen north, but residents gobbled it up as fast as Rich Owens could serve it.
    The Anchorage ice cream shop owner brought 450 containers of vanilla ice cream and sundae toppings. The dessert is an expensive purchase in Saint Michael, costing about $17 a gallon.
    Joel Heath, 12, hadn't had fresh ice cream in two years, not since a family trip to Anchorage. His sundae towered with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry.
    "It tastes real delicious," he said.
    THE GIFT OF FRUIT
    Volunteer elf Deborah Vo remembers being a child when Operation Santa Claus came to the small community of Saint Mary's in the late 1960s or early 1970s. A plane landed on the frozen Andreafsky River.
    "It's like coming full circle," she said. "I was once that little naughty village girl on the banks of the Andreafsky waiting for Santa Claus."
    For Vo, the greatest gift she received that day didn't have to be unwrapped, it had to be peeled: an apple and an orange.
    The costs of transporting goods to the Yup'ik village "were pretty high, and if we did get fresh anything, it would come rotten because of the cold."
    "Having a fresh apple and a fresh orange was one of the best Christmas presents ever," Vo said.

  • Casey

    Seventeen C-130H Hercules and C-130J Super Hercules from several active duty, reserve and air guard bases took off from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, in support of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Joint Forcible Entry 17B, Dec. 9.

    The JFE 17B is a USAFWS large-scale airdrop and land mobility mission at Nellis AFB, Nev., in which students from the weapons school plan and execute a complex air-land operation in a simulated contested battlefield.

    The Weapons School Integration is the capstone event that culminates a 5-month course for its students. WSINT involves the planning and execution of every aspect of air, space and cyber combat operations, with joint force components converging over the Nevada Test and Training Range.
    “Working with joint forces allows students to practice how we will fight,” said Lt. Col. Marty Smith, 29th

    Weapons Squadron commander. “It affords the opportunity to see the battle space through others' points of view. From a Mobility Air Force standpoint, working with joint forces allows students to understand capabilities and limitations of supported and supporting forces so they can communicate requirements, enhance capabilities, and minimize vulnerabilities in execution.”

    WSINT demonstrates the strategic advantage of multi-domain, integrated command and control and produces leaders capable of delivering success in a spectrum ranging from small tactical teams to strategic transformational change.

    “Weapons Officers require a strong track record of credibility,” said Smith. “The only way to gain that credibility is to put students into leadership and planning roles in large scale exercises of this kind. This gains them the experience they can bring back to their units, use to advise their commanders, and lead and execute if/when the National Command Authority calls upon the forcible entry option.”

    Participants have the ability to synchronize aircrafts movements from geographically-separated bases, command large formations of dissimilar aircraft in high-threat airspace and tactically deliver and recover combat forces via airdrops and combat landings on an unimproved landing strip.

    “The goal of this phase is to get the different air frames of the Air Force together to fight a big air war,” said Lt. Col. Scott Lew, 317th Operations Group deputy commander. “The total focus is on our joint capabilities to ensure the air and ground are safe to execute the mission.”

    Every six months, the school graduates approximately 100 weapons officers and enlisted specialists who are tactical system experts, weapons instructors and leaders of Airmen.

    For the past three years, Dyess has been the host base for the launch of the C-130H Hercules and C-130J Super Hercules that participate in the capstone event which aids in the wing’s mission of maintaining readiness and executing operations to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere.

    USAFWS class 17B is scheduled to graduate Dec. 16. Upon graduation, the new weapons officers return to the field to serve as unit weapons and tactics officers, leading combat missions and providing Air Force senior leaders and decision makers tactical, operational and strategic impact support.

  • Casey

    Members of the Delaware Army National Guard’s 1049th Transportation Company returned home Thursday Dec. 14, after two months supporting hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Their ride? A C-130 Hercules, courtesy the 166th Airlift Wing.

    Eight crew members from the 166th Operations Group and Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flew down to San Juan, Puerto Rico, this week to pick up 36 members of the 1049th Transportation Company and more than 2800 pounds of cargo.

    During the multi-day trip, Lt. Col. Andrew Sides piloted the aircraft and led the aircrew. He said he is pleased in the efforts made by all crew members, and the overall goal of the mission.

    “Being able to lend a hand to the folks affected down here who are not just our brethren in the Army but our brothers and sisters who are affected in Puerto Rico is rewarding,” he said “It is a blessing that we are able to provide transportation to our Delaware Army National Guard team, so that they don’t have to use outside resources for transportation.”

    The operations tempo has elevated in the past five months as a result of multiple hurricane relief efforts. Both the 166th Operations and Maintenance Groups have played a crucial role in responding to hurricane relief operations for hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The team has conducted nine operations to support disaster relief, accumulating more than 40,000 flight miles, and transporting over five hundred and fifty personnel and over 120 tons of cargo.

    Operations personnel are always ready to fly and carry out the mission in support of the Air Force with short notice. Staff Sgt. Michael Jefferson, loadmaster, has taken on a new role to assist air crew members with heading out the door during this hurricane season.

    “I was assigned to our current operations unit to work right before this hurricane season started. We had several missions supporting European Command, and when our members came back the hurricanes began,” he said. “We were able to support the hurricane missions with short notice; we provided the aircrews and aircraft to help out in any way we are asked according to our home station requirements.”

    During this particular operation there were two new aircrew members aboard their first or second hurricane relief trip, and these members were able to collaborate with veteran aircrew staff.

    Airman 1st Class Sandra Berry, loadmaster, 166th Ops Group, volunteered to go on this mission, and watch her first overnight hurricane relief mission. She said that this position is a dream come true.

    “Part of the reason why I joined is because I heard that the National Guard performs humanitarian relief missions,” she said. “I get hands on experience and the opportunity to help others. In this way I am able to fulfill a dream that I always wanted to achieve.”

    Berry worked alongside Tech. Sgt. Michael Schoonover, loadmaster- instructor, 166th Operations Group during the mission. Schoonover provided insight and guidance for the Airmen on the mission.

    “When you leave Little Rock, Arkansas, after technical school and enter your duty station, you are a fully qualified loadmaster- meaning you know the books,” he said. “But you get the best knowledge by experience. I’m happy to be able to guide these younger Airmen on these missions and pass along those experiences.”

    There were other mentoring opportunities, too. Master Sgt. Ryan Hardy and Staff Sgt.Robert Beard, both flight engineers in the 166th Operations Group, shared the load of their duties.

    Hardy, whom has over twenty years of experience as a flight engineer, offered a word of advice to Staff Sgt. Beard on his flight experience out of tech school to focus on the big picture.

    “Enjoy what you’re doing, relax, and take it all in. Realize that you have this wonderful opportunity to go Puerto Rico and pick up our members to get them home for the holidays.”

    Members of the 1049th were excited to return home, and expressed pride in the work that they accomplished during their mission in Puerto Rico.

    “Our brothers and sisters were in need so we chose to help them. In doing so, we created friendships and shared genuine love for others. We learned the true meaning of humanity,” said Spc. Justin Robins.

    “Our permanent duty was to support the Puerto Rico National Guard. We transported food, water, supplies, hygiene products, and tarps to civilians. They were extremely thankful for our help," said
    Spc. Rania Saincy.

    “Just knowing we were able to provide families with food and water where it was needs most made everything worthwhile.” Every “thank you” is a great feeling knowing that you have done what you came to do,” said Sgt. Bambie Wise.

    This mission was unique because of the resource sharing and teamwork among the joint Delaware National Guard forces, the Puerto Rico National Guard, and the citizens of Puerto Rico.

    Sides also offered a final reflection of his disaster relief experience, and what makes being a member of the National Guard so rewarding.

    “Normally we go off to war, but when we are able to help another state territory, it makes you feel good.”

  • Casey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Champion Aerospace




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