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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web

  • Casey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Casey

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

  • Casey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Casey

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Casey

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

  • Casey

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

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

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

  • Casey

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

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

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

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

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

    Black also discussed the personal impact of the mission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Casey

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

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

  • Casey

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

  • Casey

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Casey

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

  • Casey

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

  • Casey

    Crowds of friends and family members gathered around a hangar looked up in awe as five C-130H Hercules flew overhead. After several months, the long wait had come to an end. Their loved ones were finally home from deployment.
    Once the planes landed, crew members waived American flags as planes taxied into place, and loved ones rushed out to greet the newly arrived Airmen. Some were holding small children, while others had balloons or bouquets of flowers and signs with Airmen’s names.
    Beginning Saturday, approximately 150 Airmen from the 94th Operations Group and 94th Maintenance Squadron returned from deployments to the Middle East in support of contingency operations.
    “It was incredible,” said Lt. Col. Chris Gohlke, 700th Airlift Squadron commander, describing the feeling of seeing his loved ones again after returning from a four-month deployment to Qatar. “It was a very emotional day and a happy day of course.”
    He said it was also nice to get back to routines and creature comforts left behind so many months ago.
    “The anticipation of it all is exciting,” Gohlke said. “It helps you take stock in what you’re doing and the sacrifice all these Airmen are making over there, to leave home and do the mission, but it’s worth it when you come back and get back to your family and have that joyous reunion and see everybody.”
    Deployments are an inevitable part of military life, and with that come many challenges, including leaving loved ones behind for an extended period of time.
    Many of these challenges began before the deployment. As with any other long-distance trip, it was difficult at times to plan for the logistics of moving people and equipment in such a short amount of time, explained Gohlke. The same was also true for the way back.
    “I almost felt like getting there and getting home were two of our biggest challenges,” said Gohlke. “Once we were there though and all those obstacles were behind us, we were cruising. We did really good things out there.”
    The squadron provided tactical airlifts throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, moving cargo, patients and passengers throughout the theater. They provided support in four major areas: Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, Horn of Africa and Arabian Gulf combat support, Gohlke said.
    “We were also tasked to support missions into Syria for airdrop operations, which was probably one of the highlights of our deployment, that we got some combat airdrops,” said Gohlke. “We also got some combat air lands into a dirt landing zone in Syria to bring the forward most line of troops and needed supplies, weapons and ammunition. That’s something I know our crews are going to hang their hat on, something they will always remember and be proud they were able to accomplish.”
    Although deployments can be difficult – be it the time away from family and friends or the difficult working and living conditions – they serve as an important opportunity for Dobbins Airmen to utilize skills they’ve learned in a variety of exercises and training scenarios held throughout the year to prepare them for supporting the mission.
    “In 2016, we were extremely busy,” said Gohlke. “We did Saber Junction, Maple Flag and Eager Lion. We did all these large scale, OCONUS exercises, which required support from different agencies on base – not just operations and maintenance. I think that helped to exercise some of those relationships and capabilities so that when it came time to deploy, those were sharp tools.”
    The deployers also return with a variety of skills to help them become more well-rounded Airmen, ready to support Dobbins’ mission and requirements as well.
    “We gained a lot of experience from our deployment. We can bring that home and then keep that and build upon it here as well and spread it to those who didn’t get to go this time and those who come into our doors brand new, off the street and help make them better prepared for the next one.”

  • Casey

    The U.S. Air Force Reserves has been called in to fight a growing enemy attacking the Texas Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: mosquitoes. The 910th Airlift Wing began flying two specially equipped C-130H cargo planes over the upper Texas Coast, while Coastal Bend communities are spraying neighborhoods by truck.
    Vast swarms of mosquitoes plague crews working to restore power and residents struggling to clean debris from their yards and homes. Workers in Port Aransas, Aransas Pass and Refugio have been especially infested.
    Adult mosquitos blown away by high hurricane winds leave behind eggs that thrive in the subsequent flooding. Any surviving adults lay even more eggs, causing a population explosion, reports the Centers for Disease Control.
    The first onslaught of mosquitoes following a heavy rain event like Harvey are mostly salt marsh mosquitoes, which pose no threat of diseases such as dengue or Zika virus. That will change within a few weeks, according to experts.
    Aedes Aegypti mosquitos, which carry the deadly Zika virus, will soon be part of the inevitable population increase in the following weeks as the pests thrive on stagnating water in ditches, bayous and flooded fields.
    While the Texas Department of State Health Services begin aerial spraying with the pesticide Duet all along the affected areas, trucks from municipalities will spray larvacide, which kills larvae on contact.
    Residents along the Coastal Bend are asked to look for and eliminate any standing water on their properties that they can. Landowners with large pools of standing water should also spray, city officials urged.
    Corpus Christi sprays each evening when mosquitoes are most active and bees begin to settle in for the night and are less likely to be affected. Spraying is from 7:30 p.m. to midnight by neighborhoods, which are marked on the map on this page.

  • Casey

    An aircrew from the 180th Airlift Squadron returned home Sept. 1, 2017 from providing airlift support in Texas in response to relief efforts from Hurricane Harvey.

    Part of their mission included transporting six pallets of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) supplies including blankets and Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs). They transported some 36,000 lbs of cargo, according to Maj. Nick Kahler, who was the navigator for this particular crew.

    They also transported 66 Soldiers in the Army National Guard from Laredo to College Station, Texas. The Soldiers were further deployed to affected areas.

    Kahler, along with a second aircrew, arrived in Texas on Tuesday. He said they all volunteered for the mission.

    “It’s very busy down there,” said Kahler. “But it’s awesome to be part of this. Everyone we met was appreciative.”

    As both aircrews returned home to Rosecrans, two other aircrews were activated the same day and headed to Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas. Those crews will remain in Texas through the Labor Day weekend providing airlift support across the state.

    The Missouri Air National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing is comprised of approximately 1,200 citizen-Airmen from local communities throughout the region. The unit operates the C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft and has a dual mission to the state of Missouri and the federal government. Rosecrans Air National Guard Base is located at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Mo.

  • Casey

    U.S. and Romanian military members concluded a two-week bilateral training exercise on Otopeni Air Base, Romania, Aug. 31, 2017.

    Carpathian Fall 2017 involved participation from more than 100 Airmen from Ramstein AB, Germany, along with paratroopers from the U.S. Army and Romanian military. The exercise also saw participation from Romanian Air Force pilots who served as observers.

    The goal of Carpathian Fall 2017 was to enhance mission readiness and interoperability between the U.S. and Romanian military. An example of the partnership displayed during the exercise was the airlift of Romanian paratroopers on U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Romanian Air Force aircraft also airdropped cargo delivery systems which were built by U.S. Air Force aerial delivery Airmen.

    "Every exercise provides its own challenges," said Capt. Jacob Morton, the 37th Airlift Squadron mission planning cell chief. "Some challenges can be anticipated, but sometimes the things you least expect can be the things which challenge you the most. The benefit of those challenges is that we find these things out now, rather than during combat."

    Morton served as the mission commander for Carpathian Fall 2017. He emphasized the importance of bilateral training, saying no country should take on a mission alone.

    “Ever since the dawn of warfare, alliances have been crucial to victory,” Morton said. “This principle still applies today. We succeed in missions not only through the courage of our own warfighters, but also through our bonds with our allies. We fly, fight, and win together.”

    Participants from Ramstein AB came from a wide range of career fields, including aircrew, weather, logistics, operations support, weather and intelligence.

    Besides conducting airdrops, pilots also practiced various in-flight maneuvers in the skies above Romania. C-130J Super Hercules pilots from the 37th AS conducted evasive flight maneuvers, tactical low-level flying, flare dispenses and assault landings. These flights were conducted with Romanian Air Force pilots observing in the cockpit.

    Maj. Corey Preston, a 37th AS C-130J instructor pilot, said he was happy with how the exercise went, and expressed his pride in the participants.

    “Carpathian Fall 2017 was an amazing success due to hard work and dedication of all Airmen involved,” Preston said. “We had amazing support from numerous agencies from the 86th Airlift Wing, and every Airman that was deployed in support of Carpathian Fall played an integral part in the success of the deployment, so first and foremost I'd like to congratulate and thank the team.”

    Preston also expressed his gratitude for the Romanian troops who hosted Airmen from Ramstein AB, adding that Romanians contributed greatly to Carpathian Fall 2017.

    “We also had outstanding support from our Romanian counterparts, and fostered key relationships that are essential to building partnership capacity and interoperability between our two air forces,” he added. “(They) were wonderful hosts, and we will truly miss the people and the country when we leave. All of us will have stories to tell our folks when we get back home. We hope to come back again soon and continue building our alliance with the people of Romania.”

  • Casey
    Two C-130 Hercules aircraft and 14 more airmen deployed from the Kentucky Air National Guard base here last night to fly humanitarian aid and airlift evacuation missions in Texas following unprecedented flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
      Two C-130 Hercules aircraft and 14 airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing deploy from the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 1, 2017, for Texas, where they will fly humanitarian aid and airlift evacuation missions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The airmen are expected to airlift displaced residents from Beaumont, Texas, to Dallas, where they will be provided with safe shelter. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Dale Greer
    Kentucky Air Guard deploys aircraft, Airmen for evacuation missions in Texas following Hurricane Harvey Two C-130 Hercules aircraft and 14 airmen from the 123rd Airlift Wing deploy from the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 1, 2017, for Texas, where they will fly humanitarian aid and airlift evacuation missions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The airmen are expected to airlift displaced residents from Beaumont, Texas, to Dallas, where they will be provided with safe shelter. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Dale Greer Download Image Image details page #cboxClose { position: absolute; top: 5px; right: 5px; display: block; background: url(/desktopmodules/articlecs/images/media_popup_close.png) no-repeat top center; width: 40px; height: 40px; text-indent: -9999px; } #cboxClose:hover { background-position: bottom center; } .me-plugin { width: 100%; height: 100%; }
    The Kentucky Air Guardsmen will operate out of Carswell Field, located on Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, said Air Force Capt. Nick Dobson, mission planner for the Kentucky Air Guard's 165th Airlift Squadron.
    From Carswell, the airmen expect to fly missions into Beaumont Municipal Airport in Beaumont, Texas -- the site of some of the worst flooding -- to pick up dislocated residents and transport them to Dallas Love Field, Dobson said. Residents will then be moved to safe shelter by emergency responders on the ground.
    Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jeff Brown, a loadmaster in the 165th Airlift Squadron, has supported hurricane relief operations in the past, including Katrina in 2005.
    "This is the kind of thing we train to do," Brown said. "We train for combat and we train for humanitarian missions like this. We've done it before, and we're glad to be called upon again."
    Extra Sensitivity
    Brown noted that evacuation missions require extra sensitivity on the part of airmen because they never know what to expect.
    "You don't always know if the passengers are sick or injured, you don't know what their mental state is, so that means we have to exercise a little more care with them." 
      Aerial porters from the 123rd Airlift Wing load a pallet of cargo nets onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 1, 2017. The aircraft is one of two that will carry 14 Kentucky Air Guardsmen to Texas, where they will fly humanitarian aid and airlift evacuation missions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Dale Greer
    Kentucky Air Guard deploys aircraft, airmen for evacuation missions in Texas following Hurricane Harvey Aerial porters from the 123rd Airlift Wing load a pallet of cargo nets onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 1, 2017. The aircraft is one of two that will carry 14 Kentucky Air Guardsmen to Texas, where they will fly humanitarian aid and airlift evacuation missions in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Dale Greer Download Image Image details page
    The deployment is the third this week for members of the Kentucky Air Guard. The unit sent 18 members of its 123rd Special Tactics Squadron to the Houston area Aug. 27, where they have been conducting water patrol missions with inflatable motorboats. To date, those airmen have rescued more than 330 residents stranded by high water, and controlled air traffic for multiple helicopter landing zones. With the need for rooftop rescues now largely abated, those airmen are expected to return to Louisville early today.
    On Aug. 30, the Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd Contingency Response deployed 43 airmen, augmented by six troops from the Mississippi Air Guard, to establish an air hub in Houston for air cargo and aeromedical evacuation operations.
    "We have a lot of unique capabilities in our wing which allow us to respond effectively during events like this, including pararescuemen, combat controllers and a contingency response group -- a unit whose sole reason for existence is to rapidly establish airlift hubs in areas affected by natural disasters or other contingencies," said Air Force Col. David Mounkes, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, the parent unit of the 165th Airlift Squadron, the 123rd Special Tactics Flight and the 123rd Contingency Response Group.
    "Nothing is more rewarding than being able to put all those capabilities to use in our own homeland, helping people in need."

  • Casey

    MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – At approximately 11:20 A.M., on Aug. 15, a C-130J from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR- 352) departed Marine Corps Air Station Miramar with 46 passengers and experienced a loss of pressurization at 21,000 feet during a scheduled training mission. 
    The air crew expertly executed appropriate procedures and safely landed at MCAS Miramar. 
     Four Marines and one Sailor from 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion based at Camp Pendleton, California, displayed symptoms of decompression sickness the following day and were treated at Naval Medical Center San Diego. The Marines and Sailor were treated and released, and did not require hospitalization.
     The cause of this incident is currently under investigation. 
     For additional information, please call the Public Affairs Office at 858-577-6000 or email us at [email protected]

  • Casey

    This is the first photo we have seen showing U.S. Forest Service Air Tanker 118 with its latest paint job. The USFS plan is to have two of the HC-130H’s at McClellan Air Field at Sacramento (the other is T-116) while the additional five are going through heavy maintenance and retardant tank installation.  One is to be actively used as an air tanker while the second is for training, or filling in while the other is down for routine maintenance. As far as I know they are sharing just one of the slip-in MAFFS II retardant delivery units that convert a C-130 into an air tanker. It only takes a few hours to install one of the systems.
    The photo below shows T-118 in 2015. Both versions show the crude looking “118” on the tail that detracts from the otherwise very acceptable new paint design. That scheme, approved in 2014, also used the crude font for the number. In addition to flying with the Coast Guard, aircraft #1721 also served with the Air Force and the Navy.

    The Air Force, responsible for converting the Coast Guard HC-130H’s into air tankers, has been dithering for years about installing the permanent internal gravity-powered retardant delivery systems in the seven aircraft that are being transferred to the USFS. Most of the ships also need program depot maintenance including new wing boxes. That process began in 2013 when Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act directing that the Air Force arrange to take care of all of the maintenance and conversion work needed on the planes. Unfortunately, Congress did not give the Air Force a required completion date.
    It is interesting that private companies like Aero-Flite, 10 Tanker, Neptune, and Coulson can turn an aircraft into an air tanker in less than a year, but the work on these HC-130H’s is not expected to be complete until the end of this decade, about seven years after it started. And not a single one is finished, four years after it began.
    These aircraft that the Coast Guard was happy to unload, are not getting any younger while the Air Force vacillates.  Adding another seven years while they are going through the conversions means that Tankers 116 and 118 will be 36 and 32 years old, respectively, in 2020.

  • Casey

    There is an air of excitement and pride at Bradley Air National Guard Base.
    After months of anticipation, military families and friends are celebrating the return of more than 100 Connecticut Air National Guardsmen of the 103rd Airlift Wing from an overseas deployment.
    The deployment, which mobilized the Guardsmen for service in various locations across Southwest Asia was significant as it marked the beginning of a new era for the 103rd Airlift Wing; it was the first time the unit had ever deployed the C-130 Hercules overseas as part of its new tactical airlift mission. In today's world, the C-130 is just as important as it was 60 years ago.

    "This type of mission is new to the 103rd and it has a very high ops tempo," said Lt. Col. Stephen Gwinn, 103rd Operations Group Commander. "The most important role that the C-130 plays now is supplying front-line operators with the supplies that they need when they are on the ground. Our work was definitely highlighted during this deployment. Whenever the threat reached very high levels, the C-130 was the only aircraft that could be sent to deliver necessary supplies to troops on the ground."

    According to Gwinn, the Airmen of the 103rd Airlift Wing performed their jobs with remarkable proficiency during the deployment; they made mission accomplishment look easy. However, despite how effortless the deployment may have appeared, the new mission presented tough challenges. Years of training, extended work days and working with limited resources and facilities are just a few of the obstacles that the unit had to overcome to ensure the success of the deployment.

    "Training the aircrew for the new mission without some of the resources and facilities that we have now was very challenging," said Gwinn. "100 percent of the credit goes to the Airmen who did all of the work to get us to our first C-130 deployment. Our training office and our maintainers in the unit were able to get out and practice the mission to perfection. Other units are now trying to emulate what we do. We had to work to make ourselves better than what we were. We did an amazing job of accomplishing the mission."

    Some who observed the Guardsmen as they prepared the C-130s for deployment thought that the task would be too overwhelming; the Flying Yankee aircraft maintainers proved the doubters wrong and made their fellow Guardsmen, family and friends proud. The success of the mission, after years of hard work and training, made the return home to Connecticut even more rewarding.

    "The reward is in mission completion," said Gwinn. "Every one of our Airmen who deployed and worked 16-hour days, flying into hostile environments--they all came home even more motivated and it's because of the training we did at home station. This is like our graduation. We finished school by going to the desert and completing this deployment. We're not done yet. We're going to continue getting better."

Champion Aerospace