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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web

  • Casey

    C-130 News: C-130 AMP is Back

    By Casey, in 2015,

    A week after telling Congress it had a different “interpretation” of the 2015 defense authorization legislation directing the service to implement the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, the Air Force seems to be complying. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s air land subcommittee on Thursday, Lt. Gen. James Holmes, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said there have been “meetings with [congressional] staffers” in recent weeks in which USAF agreed to do the AMP. USAF killed the program two years ago, but Congress insisted it be carried out, even threatening a 15 percent hit on USAF readiness accounts if it refused. “Our intent … is to spend the AMP money on AMP,” Holmes said. The work in Fiscal 2016 will involve mostly research, development, test, and evaluation, since technology has moved on since USAF last had an up-to-date AMP implementation plan, he said. The Air Force planned to do only a limited amount of avionics work on the C-130 fleet to make it compatible with air traffic control requirements. However, the planned reduction in the C-130 fleet from 328 to 300 means the cost of doing AMP and just the air traffic work is converging and seems more affordable now, but “something else won’t get done,” Holmes said. USAF will “work with Congress on how we’re going to move out” on the AMP, he said. (Holmes prepared testimony)

    View original article: http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive...P-is-Back.aspx

  • Casey

    The Army and Air Force planes, which were carrying 13 people on separate training exercises, declared emergencies and landed safely, the report said.

    The Army Special Operations Command C-27J and the Air Force C-130H collided about eight miles south of Camp Mackall around 8:22 p.m. on Dec. 1.

    The C-27 was traveling from the Laurinburg-Maxton airport to two drop zones for simulated airdrops. The C-130 was performing an escape maneuver to egress the Luzon Drop Zone after completing a visual Container Delivery System airdrop, according to the report, which the newspaper obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

    The right wingtip of the C-27 grazed the right underside of the C-130 at the nose gear door, which damaged the gear door and tore the flare dispenser hood from the fuselage.

    The C-27's vertical stabilizer, or tail, crossed in front of the nose of the C-130 and between the prop arcs of the C-130's No. 3 and No. 4 engines. The vertical stabilizer came into contact with the front of the C-130's right external fuel tank and continued its impact down the inboard side of the No. 4 engine and leading edge of the right wing near the engine mount, according to the report.

    There were no injuries to the eight Air Force crew members of the C-130 or five Army crew members of the C-27, according to the report.

    The C-130 sustained damage to the leading edge of the right wing and No. 4 engine. Officials estimate the damage and cleanup for the C-130 at $1.8 million.

    The C-27 sustained significant damage to the top third of the vertical stabilizer and rudder. Damage estimates are still being calculated.

    The Accident Investigation Board, which investigated the collision, found "clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the mishap was a breakdown in visual scan resulting in insufficient clearing of the aircraft flight path by both aircrews," according to the report.

    Both aircrews were over-reliant on Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems to alert them to potential traffic conflicts. Also, both crews became complacent due to the routine nature of the mission profiles, according to the report.

    View original article: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/...f1a60b720.html

  • Casey
    The U.S. Forest Service has issued the solicitation for a flight crew to operate the C-130H air tanker that they expect to have available at McClellan at Sacramento, Calilfornia beginning in mid-May. They intend to fill the following jobs initially for a nine month period with options to extend the term of the contract for an additional two years.

    1 C-130H Qualified Contractor Aircrew Project Manager 2 MAFFS II Qualified Instructor Pilots, 1 US Coast Guard Qualified Flight Engineer Instructor, or US Air Force Qualified FE Instructor 2 MAFFS II Qualified Load Master Instructors
    The requirements for the two pilots:

    Must be current and qualified as a MAFFS Instructor within the last two years
    from the closing date of the solicitation. C-130J pilots must have been previously qualified as instructors in the C-
    130H, and must be a MAFFS IPs (AC/IP) with the following minimum experience: (A) 1,500 hours flight time in a C-130H aircraft, (B) 30 drops on fire, (C) 4 seasons conducting MAFFS II Missions, (D) 6 Deployments (Fire Deployments) (E) Instructor status in respective crew position. (F) 100 instructor hours.

    The closing date for the solicitation is April 10 — about a month before the C-130H arrives at McClellan.
    A few weeks ago the USFS changed their plans about how many of the seven C-130H aircraft that are in the process of being retrofitted and transferred from the Coast Guard, will be operational this year as air tankers. On February 4 their intent was to have two of the C-130Hs this summer, both outfitted temporarily with the MAFFS pressurized internal retardant tanks, rather than a conventional gravity-based retardant tank. One would be used on fires within 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles) of McClellan, California, and the other aircraft would have been used as a training platform until it departed for programmed depot-level maintenance in the Fall of CY 2015.

    Their revised plan is to have only one C-130H operational this summer and it would still be used only on fires within 500 nautical miles of McClellan. Aircraft 1721 is scheduled for delivery to Warner Robins Air Force Base for “MAFFS panel installation” around March 13, and should arrive at McClellan by mid-May. There appear to be no other changes to the schedule. The last of the seven C-130Hs are expected to be delivered, with internal gravity-based retardant tanks, in FY 2019. More details are in our February 9 and March 11 articles.

    View Original article:http://fireaviation.com/2015/03/15/u...0-flight-crew/

  • Casey

    The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of a C-130 fleet upgrade program and associated equipment to Pakistan.

    Under the estimated $100m sale, Pakistan has requested a possible sale of C-130B/E avionics upgrades, engine management and mechanical upgrades, cargo delivery system installation, and the replacement of outer wing sets on six military transport aircraft.

    The package also includes spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

    The upgrade are expected to enable the continued operation of the Pakistan Air Force's (PAF) C-130 fleet for counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism flights, regional humanitarian operations, troop transport, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions within Pakistan and in the region.

    Comprising five C-130B and 11 C-130E models, PAF's fleet is facing airworthiness and obsolescence issues, and will require upgrades and repairs for continued operation and effectiveness.

    "The proposed modernization is also anticipated to ensure C-130's continued viability for an additional 10 to15 years."

    The proposed sale also contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to enhance the security of a major non-Nato ally, which continues to serve as an important force for regional stability and US national security goals in the region.

    The prime contractor currently remains undisclosed, and is expected to be determined through a competitive bid process in future.

    Powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines, the C-130 aircraft is designed to conduct airborne assault, search-and-rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance and aerial refuelling, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting operations

    View original article: http://www.airforce-technology.com/n...fleet-upgrade/

  • Casey

    NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will buy one more Lockheed Martin C 130J Super Hercules medium-lift aircraft apart from the 12 contracted for to make up for the loss of one plane in an accident in March.

    The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, told India Strategic magazine (www.indiastrategic.in ) in an interview that the induction of the C-130Js, as also the heavy-lift Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs had "brought about a paradigm shift in our airlift capabilities".

    The IAF had initially acquired six C-130Js, and over three-and-a-half years of operations so far, the aircraft have played a highly significant role in disaster relief, setting global standards. Acknowledging this, the air chief said that six more C-130Js were to arrive by 2016 and would be deployed in eastern India.

    The IAF had initially acquired six C-130Js, and over three-and-a-half years of operations so far, the aircraft have played a highly significant role in disaster relief, setting global standards. Acknowledging this, the air chief said that six more C-130Js were to arrive by 2016 and would be deployed in eastern India.

    As for the lost aircraft, which crashed during a tactical exercise near the Indian capital, he said a replacement aircraft was being ordered to maintain the envisaged strength

    India Strategic quoted the air chief as saying: "While the C-17 had "enhanced our strategic footprint," the C-130J "has emerged as a significant enabler for Special Operations, besides being extensively deployed for varied tasks".

    "We expect to induct more of these platforms as we gain more experience in their utilisation and expand upon their roles," he said, without defining numbers and timelines. IAF does indeed require more combat and transport aircraft, but how many it orders and when would depend upon the availability of funds.

    As for the C-17s, six have already been delivered and the remaining four of the ten ordered so far are due within the next four months by end-2014.

    The IAF has projected a requirement of a second lot of eight C-17s followed by a third lot of another six. A final decision is pending. A window to order a few more C-17s is there but this may be lost if India does not exercise it soon as the factory would be closing in the near future. Boeing though has said that it has made long-term arrangements for spares and service support to the C-17 fleets around the world.

    Notably, the C-130J is designed on a platform made half a century ago and has earned the reputation for being sturdy and one of the safest aircraft in the world.

    A few years ago, Lockheed Martin had mooted a proposal to shift its manufacturing plant to India if the IAF and civil authorities would commit purchase of a minimum of 40 aircraft, saying it could be deployed economically in India's tough northeastern and mountainous region on short, unpaved airfields by civil airlines.

    The aircraft is also used in VIP configuration in some countries.

    Read more at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...campaign=cppst

  • Casey

    WASHINGTON — The US Air Force is looking for allies on the Hill to rework a major C-130 upgrade program, while warning that it may look to cut entire fleets of airplanes if it does not get relief from the program over the next five years.

    But the service may find itself facing tough opposition, if a Wednesday hearing of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee is any indication.

    The C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) has become a flashpoint in recent years. While members of Congress have fought hard for the program, the Air Force has said it is too costly and slow to do the entire, wide-ranging suite of upgrades.

    Instead, the service wants to focus on a smaller upgrade package that will allow the service to meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements by 2020. That would be followed by other upgrades over future years.
    William LaPlante, USAF acquisition head, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements Lt. Gen. Mike Holmes attempted to lay out the case for moving on during the hearing, arguing that the fleet would be best served to focus on meeting the FAA requirement first before trying to do the larger upgrade program.
    If AMP is not reworked, Holmes warned, parts of the C-130 fleet would be unable to fly domestically without obtaining a series of waivers.

    Among the upgrades for compliance are new radios, the addition of a digital flight recorder and an enhanced air traffic alert system. Holmes estimated the upgrades could be managed for about $2.5 million a plane, significantly less than the $2.8 billion price tag he assigned to the AMP program.

    Holmes said that $2.8 billion figure was roughly the equivalent of operating the KC-10 tanker fleet, C-5 cargo fleet or 150 KC-135 tankers, and hinted that if Congress does not give the service relief on the AMP issue it may look to cut those fleets.

    "In the same way that we tried to save money by retiring the A-10 fleet, we'd have to do something like that," Holmes warned journalists after the hearing.

    The hearing, which totaled just 24 minutes due to called votes, largely breezed by under direction from Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va. The only real hiccup came at the end, when Rep. Jim Bridenstine, an Oklahoma Republican, began pushing LaPlante and Holmes on the AMP issue.

    Talking quickly to, and frequently over, the two men's responses, Bridenstine hammered home the message that he was prepared to fight the Air Force on the issue, at one point demanding to know if the service planned to "follow the law" or not.

    Bridenstine has fought to protect AMP in the past, including pushing an amendment that would prevent Secretary Deborah Lee James from spending on Pentagon staff if the AMP program is not enacted.

    In a May 2014 news release on his website, he was quoted as saying, "Air National Guard aircraft are always the last to receive upgrades. Air Guard C-130s are flying with equipment from the 1960s. AMP modernizes a fleet of transport aircraft that the Air Force will use for decades. Congress wants AMP."

    The Air National Guard, it should be noted, has backed the active duty's call to move in a different direction than AMP.

    In July, the Adjutants General Association of the United States wrote a letter to the Hill warning that "a fully funded AMP program, even if immediately restarted today with zero programmatic delays, would modernize only a small fraction of the C-130H fleet by 2020. This is unacceptable."

    After the hearing, LaPlante downplayed the incident, expressing confidence in the Air Force's legal interpretation of the AMP language in last year's National Defense Authorization Act.

    "The interpretation we have right now from the general counsel is, you can apply the prior year dollars towards that compliance issue," LaPlante said. "You heard a member speak what he thought the intention of the
    language is. This is a classic thing where you have language that's written and then you have general counsels that read the language and advise officials, to the best of their knowledge, what they can and can't do with that language. That's what I see this as. We'll resolve this."

    Both LaPlante and Holmes expressed hope that they could work with Congress on the issue to find a resolution that allows the majority of the fleet to be FAA compliant by the 2020 deadline, although Holmes acknowledged that there is no way to get every C-130 in service upgraded before 2022.

    View Original Article: http://www.defensenews.com/story/def...-amp/24391383/

  • Casey

    MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS) -- The 23rd Wing sent the Air Force's oldest C-130 to the "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, for its retirement March 3.

    Aircraft 62-1863, an HC-130P Combat King nicknamed "Iron Horse," experienced 52 years of service and three different modifications during its tenure.
    The history is rich with this aircraft," said Tim Martin, the Air Force Engineering Technical Services adviser for C-130 maintenance personnel. "This is because it is a one of a kind aircraft and there never will be another like it."

    Iron Horse began its Air Force career as a C-130E Hercules assigned to the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing during the Vietnam War and ended with a final deployment in 2009 with the 71st Rescue Squadron.

    "What makes this aircraft special is that it has flown 27,533 flying hours, the second most of any C-130 aircraft in the Air Force," Martin said.

    Iron Horse first got its nickname when it was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB in 1994 as an EC-130C Airborne Command and Control Center.

    After nine years at its future retirement home in Arizona, the historic aircraft was selected by Air Combat Command for its final modification into the HC-130P Combat King.

    "(This) was the only aircraft to be converted with Lockheed Martin's tanker conversion program in Sept. 2003," Martin said. "After its conversion, Air Force Special Operations Command made the decision to cancel the program and buy new HC-130J aircraft."

    Moody and its 71st RQS welcomed Iron Horse into its fleet in 2007, and it has served here until the HC-130J Combat King II was introduced.

    The 23rd Wing's transition to the newer J Model began in 2011, so the P Models like Iron Horse have been slowly phased out over the past four years.

    "I grew up on these planes from being stationed here in May 2001," said Tech. Sgt. David Poe, 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section chief. "I thought I would be retiring with these (P Models), but they're still in service."

    Once Iron Horse reaches the boneyard, the aircrew assigned to it will attend a retirement ceremony to acknowledge its service.

    "The retirement is a remembrance of a whole generation of maintainers," Poe said. "It's also a realization that a whole generation of C-130s is disappearing slowly."

    Moody continues to retire older P Models like Iron Horse, and according to Martin, AF 65-00982 is next P Model on the list for Davis-Monthan AFB's boneyard for June.

    View original article: http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDispla...al-flight.aspx

  • Casey

    United States embassy officials in Addis Ababa have confirmed that the Ethiopian government has received a single Lockheed C-130E Hercules transport aircraft from the United States for tactical airlift of troops and equipment to support Ethiopian participation in AU and UN peacekeeping operations.

    The aircraft was previously operated by the Puerto Rico National Guard where it was flown by the 198th Airlift Squadron, according to Air Forces Daily. After retirement from the US Air Force, it was put in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in September, 2013, having flown a total of 22 739 flight hours. Early the following year it was taken out of storage and prepared for delivery to Ethiopia. The aircraft in early June 2014 flew to Ethiopia, making stops in Canada and the United Kingdom.

    A statement from the US embassy in Addis Ababa said the donation came with full training support for Ethiopian pilots, technicians and engineers with specially focused programmes on navigation and maintenance processes. An embassy spokesperson said there are no existing plans to provide any additional aircraft.

    The Ethiopian Air Force’s 15 Squadron has flown C-130s since 1998 when it received two former US Air Force C-130Bs and later two commercial L100-30 variants that were previously operated by the Ethiopian Government. It is not clear if the aircraft are still operational.

    The C-130 is a welcome boost to the Ethiopian Air Force after it lost an Antonov An-12 in a crash at Mogadishu International Airport on 9 August 2013. The aircraft was delivering ammunition to help the Somali government combat al Shabaab militants.

    The Ethiopian Air Force has also lost a number of aircraft to neighboring Eritrea and Kenya through defecting pilots and technicians. In December, a senior air force pilot, his co-pilot and a technician escaped Ethiopia in the Mi-35 attack helicopter they were flying on a training mission and landed in the Eritrean town of Aishidada where they were granted political asylum. Since last year, Ethiopia has been trying to use diplomatic channels at various levels to secure the return of its aircraft but to no avail.

    View original article: http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.ph...=35&Itemid=107

  • Casey

    STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. – New York Air National Guard Airmen flew 241 missions, delivering more than 3,100 passengers and 4.5 million pounds of cargo and fuel to research stations across Antarctica during a deployment to the southern continent that began in October 2014 and ends this week.

    This is the 27th year that the 109th Airlift Wing supported the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Program as part of Operation Deep Freeze, military logistics support for the research effort.

    This mission season also saw the successful deployment of "IcePod" device on the wing’s LC-130 “Skibird” aircraft, an imaging system that can measure the depth of an ice sheet.

    “This was a great season for the 109th,” said Lt. Col. Clifford Souza, 139th Airlift Squadron, who returned home with about 30 Airmen on Feb. 24. “We flew over 155 on-continent missions in Antarctica as well as intercontinental missions from New Zealand to Antarctica. We’re glad to be back and have one more year under our belt.”

    The wing deployed 575 Airmen and seven LC-130 ski-equipped aircraft to McMurdo Station, the hub of the American presence in Antarctica during the five month support season.

    About 120 Airmen were at McMurdo Station at any given time, as Airmen rotated between Antarctica and the 109th Airlift Wing's home in Scotia, New York. Airmen spend two months on average in Antarctica.

    The first LC-130 returned home with passengers Feb. 23 with more Airmen following throughout the week via C-17 Globemaster III.

    The final six LC-130s that were deployed and remaining Airmen are expected to return home within the next week. The unit’s 27th season supporting the National Science Foundation began in October.

    The first Airmen who got back to Stratton Air National Guard Base, located just outside Schenectady, New York, noted that it was colder in New York state than it had been at McMurdo Station when they left.

    "It was colder here than it was down there," Master Sgt. Shawn Talbot, told Time Warner Cable News. "But the wind makes it horrible, same as here. When the wind and the snow get whipping around, it gets into everything, all the crevices of the buildings."

    Over the last five days prior to Feb. 24, the Albany, New York area did officially venture above the freezing mark; the base at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, did not. But Albany also officially dropped below zero degrees three times; Antarctica never did.

    At 9 a.m. Feb. 24, a few hours before the 109th Airmen arrived, Albany was still below zero, while McMurdo Station was sitting at 5 degrees.

    "Especially since we had to come through Hawaii," Souza said, "and we spent a day there, it was like, 'OK, here we go! We have to break all the cold weather gear out of our Arctic bags, so we can just survive driving home!'"

    The unique capabilities of the ski-equipped LC-130 aircraft make it the only one of its kind in the U.S. military, able to land on snow and ice.

    The primary mission of the 109th AW is to provide airlift within Antarctica, flying to various remote locations from McMurdo Station.

    “We have the only 10 ski equipped C-130s in the entire U.S. inventory – that’s Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines,” said Maj. David Panzera , a LC-130 pilot. “We are the only ones with them.”

    The Air Guard aircrews support all kinds of research that occurs in the Antarctic, Panzera said.

    “People would ask, rightfully, what are the research efforts there,” Panzera said. “It’s not just climate, which some people think that’s all they do. It’s not. They do volcanology – the study of volcanoes – that’s right next to us called Mount Arabis. They do glaciology, plate tectonics; they study the stars and other sciences are just amazing, especially sea life at the edges of the continent because nothing can live in the interior.”

    Panzera said it’s difficult to describe how beautiful the Antarctic is. This year was his seventeenth season with Operation Deep Freeze, and he said he looks forward to the assignment each year.

    “My flight, which takes me to the South Pole, is a two hour 45 minute flight,” he said. “But you fly over some of the most amazing mountain ice sceneries that the world holds.”

    One of the biggest successes this year, though, was flying the IcePod missions for the first time in Antarctica.

    "IcePod focuses on the development of an integrated ice imaging system that can measure in detail both the ice surface and the ice bed, helping in the understanding of why ice sheets are changing at such a rapid rate," said Lt. Col. Blair Herdrick in an earlier article, chief of Antarctic Operations at the 109th.

    "The system will be enclosed in a Common Science Support Pod (CSSP) mounted on the rear troop door of the LC-130. This will be the first operational use of the CSSP," he said.

    Crews flew nine flights total with the IcePod over a three-week period.

    “These were the final tests before the IcePod is fully commissioned,” said Maj. Joshua Hicks, a 139th Airlift Squadron pilot who flew the missions. “Overall it went very well. We completed what we needed to do.”

    The continued work supporting Operation Deep Freeze garnered attention from military leadership.

    Both Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III, Air National Guard director, visited Antarctica and the Airmen stationed there in January.

    Maj. Marc McKeon, assistant chief of Antarctic Operations, said the people are what contribute to a successful season.

    “People enjoy the mission,” he said. “You have to enjoy what you do in order to be good at it. And we have some of the best maintainers and aircrew that the Air National Guard has to offer.”

    View original article: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/155368...t#.VPKVX8s5AnV

  • Casey

    Air Force Reserve leaders are drawing a clear line between planes and personnel in response to local outrage over the impending inactivation of the 440th Airlift Wing.
    A spokesman for the three-star command headquartered at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, said officials were taking "no actions prohibited by law" as they met with airmen at Fort Bragg's Pope Field on Friday.
    A team from Air Force Reserve Command will help open a clearing house for most of the 440th's 1,200 airmen, said spokesman Col. Robert Palmer.

    Palmer said the clearing house is not a nefarious plot to shutter the unit, but an effort to help airmen find new jobs.

    "This is a way to try to take care of reservists assigned to the unit," he said.

    He said leaders also took objection to assertions the clearing house was in opposition to a congressional mandate made as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Language in the act prevents the Air Force from moving C-130 cargo plans until 60 days after a report is made to Congress.

    Local congressmen have said they believed that language delayed the inactivation of the 440th.

    Sen. Thom Tillis said in a letter to military leaders that he believes the moves the Air Force Reserve is taking undermines the spirit of the congressional requirement.

    But Palmer said lawyers have determined the language only prevents the movement of the planes, not force structure changes.

    He said the Air Force plans to shutter the 440th Airlift Wing, first announced last March, have remained in place.

    The Air Force Reserve extended funding through half the fiscal year to help the 440th close, Palmer said. With that money running out at the end of next month, steps are being taken to help airmen find new units or decide the next step in their military careers.

    "Only in Washington would bureaucrats believe that C-130s can fly themselves without pilots and maintainers," said Daniel Keylin, communications director for Tillis.

    Palmer said the inactivation of the 440th is one of several force structure changes being taken. But the 440th is by far the largest unit to be closed under the 2014 plans.

    Members of the 440th have been skeptical of Air Force plans, and critics have called the clearing house an attempt to gut the 440th, making it operationally obsolete and ripe for inactivation.

    Palmer acknowledged the loss of personnel would eventually prevent the 440th from maintaining its aircraft or fulfilling its mission.

    When asked what would happen if Congress bars the relocation of planes from Fort Bragg, he said he did not have a clear answer.

    "That's a good question," Palmer said. "Obviously, there's a collision course here."

    After news of the clearing house spread, congressional leaders and the head of a local group dedicated to saving the 440th expressed concern and, in some cases, outrage over the move.

    Tillis said in a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Debra Lee James that the news was distressing, given new Defense Secretary Ash Carter's recent public commitment to meet with local leaders to discuss the closure of the unit.

    Tillis also questioned the Air Force's overall force structure plans, saying other units do not have the day-to-day tactical mission that is unique to the 440th and that inactivating the unit would create unreasonable risks to readiness at a time when threats abroad appear to be growing.

    Air Force leaders have said they planned on filling the void created by the 440th inactivation by flying in crews from other installations.

    An inactivation of the 440th Airlift Wing would leave no permanent Air Force planes on Fort Bragg, which is the nation's largest installation and home to most of the Army's airborne and special operations forces.

    Palmer said the shuttering of the 440th is part of the Air Force's approved manpower authorization and budget appropriation, no matter the findings of the yet-released report.

    "We're moving forward with what we said we would do," he said.

    Palmer said leaders were not blind to the effects of the decision. The clearing house is part of a larger effort to make the transition as smooth as possible, he said.

    "We do recognize how serious and how much this impacts our reservists at Pope," Palmer said.

    Unit leaders have said the clearing house isn't mandatory, but urged airmen to participate, calling it the "best option" for airmen in the unit.

    It's the latest step in a process that began last year, when unit officials who thought they were set to receive newer model cargo planes after years of waiting and millions of dollars in upgrades to facilities instead learned the Air Force planned to inactivate the 440th.

    At the time, the unit had about 1,400 airmen and provided $77 million in local economic impact.

    View original article: http://www.fayobserver.com/military/...=image&photo=0

  • Casey

    Chile has acquired two C-130 Hercules from U.S. Navy stockpiles — the most significant addition of transport aircraft since the 2010 purchase of KC-135 planes. The Hercules will be delivered this year and next, according to El Mercurio. The newspaper reported the C-130s are part of the H series, the same as two others already in FACh's fleet. The purchase is confirmed in the database of Excess Defense Articles of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which shows Chile paid $7 million for each plane. The agency's database also shows the transfers were authorized in 2012 and 2013, indicating that Chile didn't accept them until recently. The planes are listed as C-130R, a Marine Corps air-refueling version with hose and drogue refueling pods. It's possible that the refueling capabilities have been removed, which is why the newspaper says the Hercules are H-series rather than the R version. On a related note, the DSCA database also lists a transfer last year of two F110-129 jet engines — which are used for the F-16 fighter — at a cost of $3.89 million.

    View original Article: http://chiledefense.blogspot.nl/2015...lus-c-130.html

  • Casey
      It was recently cleared for publication that the new Samson transport aircraft operated by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has conducted its first round of paratrooper drill, takeoff from makeshift strips as well as long-haul flight abroad. The IAF said its new C-130J Super Hercules recently carried teams which parachuted and conducted air dives and freefalls. It was also reported that the aircraft has made a maiden voyage to Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.

    The paratrooper drill took place over the Palmachim airbase. Some 30 instructor course cadets jumped from an altitude of 400 meters (over 1300 feet). Paratrooper and Flight Operations Commander, Lt. Colonel Nachmias explained the drill was designed to determine the most suitable missions for the new aircraft. According to the IAF plans, as explained by Lt. Colonel Nachmias, “the C-130J Super Hercules should be able to accommodate some 86 paratroopers at a time. In comparison, the C-130 Hercules can carry 54.”

    In recent weeks, the C-130J Super Hercules tested several takeoffs and taxing from makeshift landing strips and rough runways. This feature is among its most important tasks. The tests were used to ascertain the aircraft’s operational ability and the degree to which it can be integrated with ground forces.

    As for the reported flight to Eastern Europe, Navigation Department Head Captain Ro’I told the IAF website that “clearing the aircraft for long-haul flights is among the most important priorities for the transportation squadron.”

    All flights and tests proved highly successful, affording the teams with a sense of security and self-assuredness ahead of its introduction into operational service in the framework of the IAF. The mission to Europe also gave the crew a chance to become better acquainted with international aviation regulation. In addition, this was a chance to practice landing at unfamiliar airports, flying in cold weather and locating mountain ranges ahead of landing.

    IAF officials noted the C-130J Super Hercules is an efficient platform capable of cruising in high altitude. They also noted its engines are fuel efficient. During the long haul, the crew practiced autopilot and maintaining flight course, experience using the various control systems (such as fuel consumption-alert and nearing other aircraft).

    Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hercules, aka ’Samson’ is wider and longer than the veteran C-130 Hercules, which has been serving the IAF for decades now. The Samson is designed to accommodate 92 paratroopers complete with their gear. Alternatively, it can carry four field vehicles or 128 passengers. The aircraft is capable of carrying heavy and long cargo.The aircraft already features Israeli-developed systems, and additional ones will be integrated further in the future.

    The ’Samson’ is dubbed “the IAF’s far-reaching arm”. Its mission has been defined as follows: ’tactical transport aircraft for military forces and cargo over short and long ranges carrying numerous and units with high precision’.

    View original article: http://i-hls.com/2015/02/iafs-new-sa...port-aircraft/

  • Casey

    Fire Aviation has obtained a document produced by the U.S. Forest Service which indicates they expect to receive the seven former Coast Guard C-130H aircraft between Fiscal Years 2017 and 2019 after they have been converted into air tankers — two in 2017, three in 2018, and the last two in 2019. (The federal fiscal year begins in October.) This is a year later than information the Chief of the USFS, Tom Tidwell, provided to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in July of 2014.

    Last month the agency’s announced plan, until the seven aircraft have been fully converted to air tankers with conventional gravity-based retardant tanks, was to operate one C-130H in 2015 and 2016 with a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) installed “to provide an initial capability and to gain experience in operating the aircraft while wing and airframe modifications are being completed and gravity tanks are being developed and installed”, according to Jennifer Jones of the U.S. Forest Service in January, 2015.

    The document we received, dated February 4, 2015, states the USFS will have two of the C-130Hs this summer, both outfitted with the MAFFS pressurized internal retardant tanks, rather than a conventional gravity-based retardant tank. One will be used on fires within 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles) of McClellan, California, and the other aircraft will be used as a training platform until it departs for programmed depot-level maintenance in the Fall of CY 2015.

    Two weeks ago we asked the Forest Service when the converted C-130Hs would be delivered and were told by a spokesperson they would receive them “beginning in 2017, but we don’t have a specific schedule available yet”.

    The National Defense Authorization Act for 2014 passed in December of 2013 required that the seven aircraft be transferred from the Coast Guard to the Air Force where they will be updated with new wing boxes as needed, receive retardant tank systems, and any necessary programmed depot-level maintenance. After the conversions, they will be owned by the U.S. Forest Service, but operated and maintained under contract by private companies while being used to help suppress wildfires.

    It is our understanding that two of the seven aircraft received new wing boxes before the transfer from the Coast Guard was initiated. Fire Aviation wrote a detailed article in January, 2014 about the wing box program and other work that must be done to the C-130Hs — at a cost not to exceed $130 million.

    The total cost of a center wing box kit in 2011 was $6.7 million, including installation which takes about 10 months. The programmed depot-level maintenance takes 6 to 7 months. It would probably take several months to install a 3,500-gallon retardant tank in the C-130s. The Air Force has already issued a Request for Information for the tanks.

    When the last of the C-130Hs are received in FY2019, we believe they will be from 42 to 46 years old. If they last 20 additional years, they will be 62 to 66 years old, about the same age as the dangerously old Korean War vintage P2Vs still being used today as air tankers that have an alarming crash history. One could debate about how high a priority it is to secure our homeland from wildfires.

    Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is replacing their jettisoned planes with almost new C-27J aircraft.
    We scoured the Forest Service document to sort out the details about the schedule for incorporating the C-130Hs into the Forest Service fleet, and put them in the table below. Click it to see a larger version.

    The numbers the Coast Guard assigned to the seven aircraft that are being transferred to the USFS are 1706, 1708, 1709, 1713, 1714, 1719, and 1721.

    Image: A Coast Guard C-130H, No. 1719, one of the aircraft to be transferred from the Coast Guard to the U.S. Forest Service. Photo taken October, 2008 by Rico Leffanta

    View original article: http://fireaviation.com/2015/02/09/f...rs-by-fy-2019/

  • Casey

    A major fire has destroyed much of a factory in Gloucestershire.

    The blaze began at about midnight in the roof space of Dowty's production facility at Staverton, where propeller systems for aircraft are made.

    Twenty-nine staff were evacuated from the site and led to safety. No-one was reported as injured.

    Neil Siddons from GE Aviation, who owns Dowty Propellers, said it had "committed considerable resources" to get the operation back up and running.

    "We are in close contact with our employees, customers, and regulatory authorities," he added.

    Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service said 80% of the factory building was "severely damaged" by the blaze, which was tackled by 80 firefighters.

    Chief fire officer Stewart Edgar, said: "Firefighters from all over the county have been working tirelessly under my command and will be there for the foreseeable future.

    "Rest assured, the fire is well under control."

    Fire crews remain on scene damping down and scaling back operations at the site.

    'Future concerns'

    Christine Starling, from Unite the union, said its members who work at the site were "absolutely devastated" and had been sent home.

    "Everybody is in shock and at this moment in time quite worried about their future," she said.

    "Obviously there must be meetings going on within the company and I would expect something to be said within the next 24 hours to the workforce about what exactly is going to happen.

    "Decisions need to be made and they're not going to be quick decisions."

    Mr Siddons said the company wanted to "limit the disruption" to employees and customers, and would be meeting with staff on Friday morning.

    The Dowty Propellers site in Staverton - which employs 250 workers - is separate to the Messier-Bugatti-Dowty factory nearby which designs and manufactures landing gear for aircraft.

    It's main production line, destroyed by the fire, makes propellers for the C130J Super Hercules and the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400.

    View original article and additional images: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-g...shire-31144128

  • Casey

    But the Savings wouldn't pay for a single new bomber

    The U.S. Air Force is winnowing down its fleet of EC-130H Compass Call electronic attack planes.

    The 15 high-tech jammers belong to the 55th Electronic Combat Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. But if the flying branch has its way, it will retire seven at the turn of the fiscal year in October, according to the Pentagon’s latest budget request.

    They’re few in number, but highly important planes. These are same EC-130Hs that twice shut down Saddam Hussein’s air defenses, and helped American pilots and troops return home alive from the conflicts in Kosovo, Haiti, Panama, Serbia and more recently Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

    Compass Calls are heavily-modified C-130s that carry advanced jammers and counter-radar equipment to shut down just about any wavelength on the electromagnetic spectrum.

    This allows U.S. warplanes to penetrate sophisticated air-defense systems and avoid detection by early warning radars. The EC-130H can even take down enemy command-and-control networks.

    According to one former crew member, the Compass Calls can do things that the Navy’s Growler squadrons can’t, although the plane’s exact capabilities are classified.
    are classified.

    Whether there’s a Compass Call available has sometimes been the deciding factor whether a special operations mission goes ahead, the ex-crew member said.

    Lynn Berg, a former EC-130H crew member and staff member at the Pentagon’s Joint Electronic Warfare Center, said eight airframes won’t be enough to fulfill requirements from the military’s combatant commanders.

    “That should greatly concern the joint warfighting community,” Berg wrote in an email. “It’s widely acknowledged that military operations everywhere are growing increasingly reliant on electromagnetic energy for communications, sensing, satellite navigation, battlefield awareness and command and control.”

    For the eight remaining aircraft, some will remain stateside for aircrew training, depot maintenance and modification.

    Berg commended the Navy, Marine Corps and the Army for boosting their electronic warfare divisions. But he added that the Compass Calls are a lot more powerful than relatively newer jammers like the EA-18G Growler.

    “Compass Call’s detailed capabilities are classified, but when you understand the complete list of what it can target across frequency range, geographic area, target type, and transmitter power, there is nothing comparable in the [Defense Department] inventory,” Berg wrote

    The Air Force appeared to agree in a carefully-worded report to the Senate Armed Services Committee last September. Even though the first EC-130H entered service in 1983, the service has regularly upgraded its electronic warfare systems.

    The report came in response to concerns by the Senate about the fleet cut. The aircraft “has proven its value in every major combat operation since Operation Just Cause in 1989 through today’s conflict in Afghanistan,” the lawmakers wrote in its 2015 defense spending authorization.

    According to the report, the Air Force estimates it would save approximately $300 million over four years by moving half of the Compass Call fleet to its aircraft boneyard in Arizona.

    “The concerns of the Senate are appropriate,” the service wrote in the response, signed by Air Force Under Secretary Eric Fanning. “The decision to retire seven EC-130H aircraft was one not made lightly, but was driven by financial constraints and the needs of the Air Force to modernize in other areas.”

    Those same budgetary concerns didn’t seem to apply for other missions, though. The Air Force requested $167 billion for fiscal year 2016—well above the sequester limit—to boost spending on new fighters, bombers, tankers, cyber forces, nuclear weapons, space launches, missiles, bombs and other programs.

    The Air Force also pushed back retirement of the E-8 ground-surveillance planes, E-3 radar planes and U-2 spy planes due to “combatant commander requirements.”

    Half of those fleets would have begun retiring from service in the 2016 fiscal year—if it wasn’t for pressure from Congress. The Air Force would have scrapped the U-2 entirely.

    The $300 million—or $75 million per year—in savings isn’t much, either.

    Retiring half the Compass Call fleet would pay for less than a single Long-Range Strike Bomber—which will cost $550 million a piece once it enters production. One KC-46 tanker costs $180 million. One Global Hawk costs $95 million. One F-35 Joint Strike Fighter costs $88 million.

    Those are conservative figures from the Pentagon’s 2013 selected acquisition reports, and do not account for development costs.

    The Compass Call reduction would also come ahead of any plan to replace the aircraft with anything new. Air Combat Command has commissioned a series of studies to look at the service’s next airborne electronic attack aircraft.

    The report indicated that the remaining EC-130s will receive upgrades through 2025. A report due in 2017 will explain what the follow-on jammer should be.

    In an interview in December, the commander of the 55th Wing headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, said there has been no action taken yet to retire any planes, but the wing is developing plans to comply with the force reduction.

    “Now that we know we would have the same capability with our airframes, we just have to figure out what we’d do with less capacity,” Brig. Gen. Gregory Guillot said.

    “So we’re working with Air Combat Command and the [Combatant Commands] to show we’d still have the same capability but just less of it, and ensure that we’re presenting forces in the right way if we do go down to eight.”

    The general said the electronic combat group has a new Compass Call flight deck simulator, and two mission crew simulators at David-Monthan Air Force Base that should free up some airplanes that were previously kept back for training purposes.

    “I think that will help us with a small force so more aircraft will be able to devote to the operational mission,” Guillot said.

    View original article: https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the...s-3f16d164cac1

  • Casey

    C-130 News: 27 C-130Js Budgeted for 2016

    By Casey, in 2015,

    The fiscal year 2016 budget proposal for the Air Force continues a multi-year procurement of C-130 transport aircraft and its
    variants. Multi-year buys allow a service to sign contracts for longer periods without having to seek yearly approval from Congress. Fiscal year 2016 will see the acquisition of 14 C-130J Hercules, five HC-130, which support personnel
    recovery, and eight MC-130s used by Air Force Special Operations Command.

    See full story: http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.o...t.aspx?ID=1732

  • Casey

    Vibration problems threaten to delay the AC-130J

    The U.S. Air Force’s newest AC-130J Ghostrider gunships will enter service later than expected because of plans to load extra weapons on the four-engine planes. But the Pentagon’s top weapons tester is even more worried that other nagging problems could hold up the aircraft.

    In 2014, crews had trouble picking out targets because the two prototypes were shaking so much in the air, according to the latest annual report from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

    On top of that, one of the aircraft had a mid-air accident that completely shut down test flights. “Several problems require resolution and will affect the subsequent development test schedule,” the report explains.

    For one, the AC-130J apparently vibrates much more than the previous AC-130W Stinger II aircraft. Crews had serious trouble focusing powerful sensors and pointing laser designators at targets.

    In a fight, this could mean the difference between shooting an enemy or hitting friendly troops nearby. The AC-130 is a modified C-130 transport plane armed with huge side-mounted gun turrets.

    The report doesn’t explain why the new aircraft shake so much. However, the Ghostriders have more powerful engines than any of the previous AC-130s. The four Rolls-Royce turboprops with their special six-bladed propellers could easily jerk sensitive equipment around quite a bit.

    In addition, the video cameras and weapons on the J-models are designed to be easily removed and replaced. The mounts for these systems might not stay in place as well as the more permanent hardware on older variants

    If that wasn’t bad enough, electrical interference—like putting your wireless router too close to the microwave—caused problems for new hand-held controls. When the crew uses the remotes, the Ghostrider’s various turrets often start and stop moving without warning, the report notes.

    “The program has reported some progress in the laboratory environment on both issues, but definitive solutions have not yet been demonstrated on the aircraft,” the Pentagon evaluators say in their overview.

    Far more worrisome, one of the AC-130Js experienced a “temporary departure from controlled flight” on a test mission, according to the report.

    While the report added few details, the pilots apparently had to fly the gunship faster than recommended—putting equally ill-advised strain on the airframe—to escape a more serious accident.

    After the February 2014 incident, the Air Force promptly stopped flying the prototypes for an undisclosed amount of time. The service launched an investigation and issued new rules to the test crews on how to handle the gunships.

    As a result of all these issues, the Ghostriders have completed less than a third of the planned test flights. As of January, both prototypes had been in the air for fewer than 100 hours in total.

    In the end, the Ghostriders will be four months late for their first assessment of how they might fare on real-life missions. The Pentagon doesn’t expect a more comprehensive initial operations test and evaluation—needed before full production can begin—until October.

    Have gun, won’t travel

    Unfortunately, that timeline could drag out even more if the Air Force can’t get its third prototype AC-130J ready for the experiments.

    The flying branch plans to install a 105-millimeter howitzer on this prototype. Until recently, this massive cannon was a standard weapon on all of the AC-130 models. But the flying branch expected the next generation of gunships to rely on precision-guided munitions such as Hellfire and Griffin missiles and GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs.

    In November 2012, AC-130Ws dropped the GPS-guided SDBs on targets in Afghanistan for the first time ever, according an official briefing. Marine Corps KC-130J Harvest Hawk gunships have already fired Hellfires and Griffins in combat, too.

    But the huge gun is significantly cheaper than any of these guided weapons. And the shells contain far less explosives, making them better suited to densely populated areas full of civilians.

    “An AC-130 … precisely delivers very low yield munitions with a 30 and a 105 [millimeter cannons] … and they’re very inexpensive to deliver,” Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, the commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, told Breaking Defense.

    So three years ago, the Air Force started looking at ways to mount the devastating weapon onto the Stinger IIs and Ghostriders. With the new armament fitted, the Ghostrider’s crew would expand from seven to nine. The weight of the gun, ammunition and other gear could also change how the planes handle in flight.
    But the program—nicknamed Dragon Fire—has not produced a suitable arrangement yet, according to the report.

    If the flying branch can’t provide the third prototype for tests, Pentagon weapon testers recommend adding an extra crew member to the cannon-less AC-130Js. This addition would help make the evaluation more “operationally relevant,” according to the annual review.

    The aerial commandos also expect a “directed energy weapon”—like a deadly laser or millimeter-wave beam—to replace the howitzer in the future, Heithold said. The Air Force has toyed around with this idea for a decade.

    In 2007, Boeing announced it installed a turret-mounted laser in the belly of an old DC-130H—originally used to launch Ryan Firebee target drones—for further study. Two years later, Air Force crews successfully fired the weapon and reportedly destroyed a target on the ground.

    But there’s been little to no news about this so-called “Advanced Tactical Laser,” and it’s unclear if the project was really a success. Four years ago, the Pentagon canceled development of a similar, larger system fitted to a heavily-modified Boeing 747 airliner.

    Regardless, the Pentagon report doesn’t mention beam weapons of any sort as part of the current test plan.

    The Air Force is also still looking at whether the new Ghostriders can actually survive in a real fight. In their 2014 assessment, the evaluators voiced serious concerns about the aircraft’s apparent lack of armor.

    At the same time, commanders in the field are still demanding the gunships. Most recently, AC-130s have been among the many planes attacking Islamic State militants in Iraq.

    The flying branch already plans to “buy back” two of the older AC-130U Spooky IIs in the next budget request—which have the valuable howitzer—to help avoid any shortfalls, Heithold said.

    The Air Force originally planned to get rid of the older gunships in the next few years. But the General insisted that the problems with the Ghostriders shouldn’t be seen as “delays.”

    “I wouldn’t call it a delay,” Heithold explained. The plan is to “field the J-model correctly.”
    With all of these hurdles, American commandos and other troops on the ground can only hope the Air Force will have the Ghostriders ready for action sooner rather than later—without the excessive shaking.

    Attachment 4629



    View original article: https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the...l-4476771a0d74

  • Casey

    The Israeli Air Force is likely to upgrade its old Hercules transport planes in a bid to modernize their avionic systems suitable for modern warfare, The Jerusalem Post reported last Saturday.

    The Hercules transport planes first came into service 40 years ago.

    “Lockheed Martin’s C-130H aircraft are reaching the end of their operational lifespan. Work has begun to extend their lifespan and modernize their electronic systems,” the news daily quoted an unnamed Lt Col with the IAF as saying.

    The officer further said that “the upgrade has two focuses, one to replace the wing box connecting the wings of the airframe which can enable the aircraft to fly for more decades longer than their original design. Secondly, a number of onboard systems are being replaced such as navigation and threat detection, and a new head-up display for the pilots is being installed”.

    “Old analog displays are being replaced with digital screens. Israel’s ability to modernize an aging aerial platform is “very significant and unique,” adding that it would save large sums that would have to go to purchasing new planes,” he added.

    The IAF so far has two of the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft (Shimshon) of the three ordered earlier. The upgraded aircrafts are expected to work in conjunction with the new aircraft.

    The IAF has also purchased a modern fleet of Super Hercules C-130J aircraft, which will work in conjunction with the upgraded planes.

    View original article: http://www.defenseworld.net/news/120...t#.VM131Ms5AnU

  • Casey

    India and US after renewed and enhanced Defense Framework Agreement have agreed to work on Joint development and Production of four key defense Projects and one of them is to enhance Indian air forces C-130J with specialized electronic intelligence kits called as “Senior Scout ” which is a Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system.

    Senior Scout, a pallet mounted communications and electronic intelligence system, built into a trailer-like container that can be rolled on and off C-130 aircrafts. Senior Scout container also accommodates operators who collect SIGINT (signals intelligence), ELINT (electronic intelligence) and COMINT (communications intelligence).

    While Senior Scout system is a plug and use system, IAF’s C-130J will require some minor level of permanent modification to integrate antenna arrays which will be clipped onto the tail, paratroop doors, and main landing gear doors of C-130J aircrafts .

    Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system can configure standard C-130 aircraft for tactical signals intelligence, providing capabilities that exploit, geo-locate and report communications intelligence and signals of interest to the air and ground component commanders. Permanent modification required on aircraft is not time-consuming and can we completed in a weeks time in each aircraft according to Lockheed Martin and can be carried out at base level in India itself.

    First Senior Scout system was fielded and was used in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. latest Senior Scout shelter has been enhanced to be structurally compatible with the newest C-130J aircrafts operated by IAF and System interfaces too were updated lately.

    Senior Scout fills a distinct gap in Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) with its capability to exploit a growing number of low power tactical targets challenging India’s intelligence efforts. It provides near-real-time signal intelligence to war fighters operating in area and ground forces.

    View original article: http://defence.pk/threads/iafs-c-130...ystems.355677/I

  • Casey

    YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The newest version of the Air Force’s C-130 Hercules transport is coming to Japan, where its increased cargo capacity, power and range should help in disaster relief and other missions across the Pacific, according to officials at Yokota Air Base and aircraft maker Lockheed-Martin.

    “We’re looking at transitioning from our H-model (C-130s) to the (newer) J-models,” 374th Airlift Wing Vice Commander Col. Clarence Lukes Jr. said recently, adding that the C-130Js are scheduled to arrive at Yokota in 2017.

    The 374th flies 14 C-130s on missions throughout the western Pacific. Aircraft from Yokota helped out after Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines a year ago.

    The arrival of the new aircraft is in line with U.S. defense chiefs’ pledge to send their newest platforms to the Pacific as part of the Obama administration’s strategic rebalance to the region.

    Larry Gallogly, Lockheed Martin air mobility programs business development director and a pilot with 30 years of experience flying “Hercs,” said Yokota will receive a stretched version that can hold two extra pallets of cargo.

    “It’s not about a shiny new plane,” he said. “It’s really about the operational capability they gain with this aircraft compared to the older versions.”

    Automated navigation and engineering systems mean the new aircraft needs two fewer crewmembers. More efficient composite propellers and new Rolls Royce engines provide more power, fuel efficiency and range, he said.

    The C-130J can fly about 3,000 miles in windless conditions — about the same as the C-130H with external fuel tanks, Gallogly said.

    “The average person, when they look at the aircraft from the outside, will notice it is a little longer (15 extra feet), and the propellers have six blades instead of four,” he said. “But you won’t notice anything more. For the crewmembers, it has the look and feel of a Herc, but when you push the throttle, you notice the power.”

    The extra power allows the aircraft to climb more steeply, he said. “This is a very powerful beast, and power can make up for a lot of mistakes and get you into a lot more places.”

    Other improvements make the plane more efficient in combat. For example, the cargo bay can be quickly reconfigured to handle cargo or passengers, cutting down time in hostile environments.

    The propellers can be placed in “hotel mode” on the flight line — a process that disconnects them from the engines, which can be left running without kicking up dirt and debris from propeller wash, Gallogly said.

    “Navigation tools such as a moving map display add to the situational awareness of the pilots,” he said. “You don’t need the navigator.”

    Likewise, computers and sensors have replaced engineers. The aircraft alerts crew to mechanical faults and often fixes them automatically. At times, pilots must follow emergency checklists read by loadmasters to verify and correct issues in flight, he said.

    The Air Force, which received its first C-130A Hercules in 1956, already has 200 C-130Js that have flown more than 1.2 million hours.

    During their first combat deployments — to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005 — C-130Js performed so well that they were immediately sent back to the desert, said Gallogly, who flew missions in the aircraft at the time.

    “I was a skeptic at first,” he said. “I thought we were getting too fancy. I questioned the reduced crew complement for low-level flying and combat.”

    The performance of the aircraft quickly erased those concerns, he said. “In Afghanistan at high altitude, the H models could get in and out of airfields, but they could only carry limited cargo — a couple of pallets at most,” Gallogly said. “The J models can go to these locations fully loaded.”

    More power and cargo space mean two C-130Js can do the job of three C-130Hs. For example, two of the aircraft were able to move a Marine unit comprising 125 personnel, gear and vehicles during the 2005 deployment, he said.

    “Every time these airplanes go into hostile fire, you are sending two instead of three,” Gallogly added.

    Instead of exposing 18 crewmembers to a threat during a typical mission commanders need to send only eight, with flow-on effects for things like lodging and food, he said.

    Lockheed Martin estimates that — due to the fuel and personnel savings — the C-130J costs 30 percent less to operate than its predecessor, Gallogly said.

    Hawaii-based Pacific Forum think tank President Ralph Cossa, a former Air Force officer, said the Air Force is looking for ways to trim ballooning personnel costs.

    “Any weapons system that can operate as efficiently or more efficiently with fewer people is a boon,” he said.

    Cossa said that as long as the Air Force is run by fighter pilots, it will be reluctant to cut pilot positions, but that there’s probably less resistance to replacing C-130 crewmembers with automated systems.

    View original article: http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/...-2017-1.324843

  • Casey

    The air bridge involved the backbone of the Polish transport aviation: CASA 295M and C-130 Hercules.

    The Polish Air Force has completed the evacuation of Ukrainians with Polish descent living in eastern Ukraine and extracted them to refugee camps in Poland on Jan. 13.

    The operation was conducted by C-130E Hercules and C295M cargo planes which flew to Kharkiv to board 178 persons belonging to a large ethnic minority in Ukraine which is set apart from the main body of population.
    People who were qualified to be extracted were in possession of Karta Polaka, literally meaning “Pole’s card”, a.k.a Polish Charter a document which confirms the Polish citizenship of people who cannot obtain dual citizenship in the countries where they are residing (Ukraine in this case) while being Polish. These people also had no Polish citizenship or permission to stay in Poland earlier on.

    The first wave of flights evacuated about 120 people living in the areas controlled by the pro-Russia separatists, while the remaining 60 were transported during the night, between Jan. 12 and 13.

    The operation, consisting of five flights and coordinate with the Ukrainian authorities, was kept confidential until its completion, even though, as highlighted by the Polish Dziennik Zbrojny website, C-130 aircraft flying to Ukraine could be tracked on Flightradar24.com website on Jan. 13., at. 12.00 CET.

    According to the Polish government officials, the persons who have been evacuated are to be placed in refugee camps for 6 months, depending on the needs. People who have Polish citizenship and would be able to find a job could leave the refugee facilities earlier.

    Image Credit: Polish AF 3rd Transport Aviation Wing

    View original article: http://theaviationist.com/2015/01/17...ridge-ukraine/

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