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C-130 Hercules News

C-130 Hercules News from around the web

  • Casey

    For the past week, airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing's 139th Maintenance Squadron in St. Joseph have worked through the blazing heat to bring the C-130 aircraft on display at the Missouri Museum of Military History at the Ike Skelton Training Site back to its former glory.
    Nine airmen spent a day and a half washing the aircraft and another five painted.
    "It's now colored in what we call the European Color Scheme," said Sgt. Brent Proffitt, senior member of the maintenance crew that came to Jefferson City. "This would have been what it looked like had it been on duty in the European theater. Currently, all C-130s are painted gray."
    Proffitt said the biggest challenge this week was not the heat but the wind, since strong gusts can cause over spraying.
    The plane was brought to Jefferson City from Chanute, Illinois, last May, marking the second time the plane has been used for a historic display.
    This Hercules first went on display in 1984 at the Chanute Air Force Base, which closed in 1993.
    "I actually saw this plane at Chanute when I was doing tech training in the 1990s," Proffitt said.
    Because this aircraft was used by the Missouri Air Guard 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri command members were eager to bring it here.
    This particular C-130 was one of the first made in April 1957 at Lock-heed's Marietta, Georgia, plant. It saw service all over the world, lastly with the St. Joseph-based unit.
    The Hercules also was stationed at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan, in 1958 and moved to the Naha Air Base, Okinawa, in 1966.
    It then served in Minnesota from 1971 until it was damaged in a 1973 belly-landing. A transfer to West Virginia preceded its arrival in Missouri.
    "We will be back to do maintenance work from time to time," Proffitt said. "We took the rudder off, did repair work on it and put it back on. We will be back to put on the proper military markings."
    Museum officials said this C-130 is one of the few known on display and the only one known to be on display in Missouri.
    Visitors continue to come to the museum at a steady pace, with more than 1,000 last month, officials said.
    Source: http://www.newstribune.com/news/local/story/2017/jul/13/st-joseph-crew-restores-c-130-hercules-display-here/681973/
    by Jeff Haldiman

  • Casey

     
    Personnel from the Train, Advise, Assist, Command – Air (TAAC-Air) and the Afghan Air Force conducted a bilateral casualty evacuation mission and an aerial re-supply training exercise July 9-10.

    Afghan pilots and U.S. Air Force advisors from the 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron made the roundtrip C-130 flight from Hamid Karzai International Airport to Kandahar Airfield to drop off supplies and facilitate the movement of wounded Afghan National Defense and Security Force personnel back to Kabul for further treatment.

    “We fly several missions per week,” said Lt. Col. James Torok, a C-130 advisor. “At this point we’re pretty much in an assisting phase. Advising mainly comes into play when dealing with aircrew equipment and procurement. The Afghans are no longer coalition dependent on airlift missions.”

    The entire C-130 airlift mission was planned, coordinated, controlled, and executed by the Afghan Air Force.

    Afghan Air Force Maj. Khial M. Shinwari served as the aircraft commander of the recent mission. “It was my dream to be an Air Force pilot,” said Shinwari. “I come from a strong family lineage of military service, my brother and father served in the Afghan National Army, but I am the first member of my family the join the Air Force.”

    Afghan pilots train extensively and must re-certify on a regular basis. “We study English at the Defense Language Institute and are required to pass a proficiency test before permission is granted to enroll in flight school,” said Shinwari. “Additionally, we’re required to return to the United States every 18 months to re-qualify on flight simulators.” The two week course presents an opportunity to reinforce capabilities and re-creates emergency situations and procedures a pilot may potentially face during flight.

    In addition to the airlift mission, the Afghan Air Force also demonstrated a successful airdrop training evolution using C-208 aircraft over a remote airstrip south of the capital. Much like the C-130 missions, the Afghan Air Force took the lead in planning and execution of the exercise as coalition advisors remained strictly in an assist and advisory role.

    Afghan Air Force C-208 airdrop specialist Capt. Hedayutal Rahman explained the importance of this capability, “there is always a great requirement and critical need to be able to quickly and effectively re-supply ground forces. Food, ammunition, and medical supplies keep our ground forces in the fight, and getting these items to them is a top priority.”

    Tactical airlift missions doubled in the past year to include the first autonomous Afghan Air Force aerial re-supply mission executed on June 28, 2017, supplying the Afghan Border Police.

    Further plans to improve the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force are currently underway. Under the U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations Afghan Security Forces Fund, refurbishment and modification of existing aircraft will occur, as well as the procurement new airframes such as the UH-60 Blackhawk.

    “We are building a professional, capable, and sustainable Afghan Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart, Commanding General, Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air and commander, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing. “Both the coalition and Afghans recognize this tremendous responsibility and have exceptional initiative. Recapitalizing the Afghan Air Force and increasing its size will provide firepower and mobility; these significant offensive factors will enable the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces the ability to break the stalemate with insurgents.”
    Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/240722/afghan-air-force-conducts-bilateral-missions-with-coalition-forces
    Story by Lt.Cmdr. Kathryn Gray

  • Casey

    U.S. Special Operations Command selected BAE Systems to provide electronic warfare systems for its AC/MC-130J aircraft Wednesday, per a company announcement.

    Under contract with the U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, BAE Systems designed, demonstrated and will now provide their Radio Frequency Countermeasure, or RFCM, system, which is to be used by both the U.S. Air Force’s AC-130J Ghostrider and MC-130J Commando II aircraft.

    The British-owned company entered into a developmental phase of the contract in January 2016 and competed with Northrop Grumman's Land and Avionics C4ISR division. According to the companies’ announcements, Northrup Grumman received $32.8 million and BAE Systems received $22 million to develop EW systems that “detect, identify, locate, deny, degrade, disrupt, and defeat” threats.
    BAE Systems received the $67 million contract today for the integration and installation of their EW systems into the AC/MC-130J aircraft over the next year and a half.

    The contract’s total value is expected to surpass $300 million.

    BAE Systems’ RFCM system will allow SOCOM aircraft to detect and defeat airborne and surface threats, supporting various missions, including armed over-watch, helicopter refueling and close air support.

    “With our all-digital system, we’re leveraging the latest, most advanced EW technology to create a highly mission-customized solution so that SOCOM’s fleet remains capable and protected in the harshest of environments,” said Brian Walters, vice president and general manager of Electronic Combat Solutions at BAE Systems.
    Source: http://www.defensenews.com/articles/bae-systems-to-install-ew-systems-on-socom-c-120js
    By Paige Williams
    USAF Image

  • Casey

    California has activated two National Guard C-130 aircraft to assist with combating wildfires in the state. The Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) that convert a military aircraft into an air tanker can be installed in a C-130 in a matter of hours. The units hold up to 3,000 gallons of water or retardant that is forced out of the tanks by compressed air. The two C-130’s are with the 146 Airlift Wing at Channel Islands in Southern California.
    The MAFFS program consists of eight units located at four military bases in the western United States — Channel Islands, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs, and Reno. Each base has two of systems except for the new kid on the block, Reno — one of their two MAFFS is being used by a C-130 that is in the process of being transferred from the Coast Guard to the U.S. Forest Service.
    The concept behind the MAFFS is to have surge capacity. The units can be activated when ongoing wildfires reduce the ability of the 20 large air tankers on federal exclusive use contracts to respond to new initial attack and extended attack fires.
    Governors in the four states have the authority to activate their one or two National Guard MAFFS as needed. The National Interagency Fire Center can also activate them.
    In the video below MAFFS 6 is being tested after it was installed in the C-130 at Channel Islands. Normally they drop fire retardant, rather than water.
    Source:  http://fireaviation.com/2017/07/10/maffs-c-130s-activated-in-california/

  • Casey

    In a concerted effort from July 7, and into the early hours of July 8, 2017, approximately 80 Airmen and four aircraft assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing successfully rescued two German citizens whose vessel caught fire approximately 500 nautical miles off the east coast of southern Florida.

    At the request of the Coast Guard's Seventh District in Miami, the 920th RQW was alerted by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, to assist in the long-range search and rescue.

    “The rescue was a culmination of skill and teamwork that involved many throughout the 920th RQW, the Coast Guard, The AFRCC and the 45th Space Wing, who provided critical support to allow our aircraft to launch and recover,” said Col. Kurt Matthews, the 920th RQW commander.

    “The specific capability with our Guardian Angel Airmen, combined with our air refueling and extended-range airlift makes us uniquely able to accomplish this mission where few others in the world can. I’m very humbled and glad to be a part of this noble mission,” he continued.

    Aircraft maintainers launched an HC-130P/N “King” fixed-wing combat rescue aircraft piloted by eight Airmen at approximately 2:30 p.m. transporting six Airmen who specialize in all types of rescue disciplines.

    It was discovered during the planning stages that only one of the German victims spoke broken English, but was badly burned, therefore Master Sgt. Isabelle Kleirgraham, the 920th RQW Equal Opportunity noncommissioned officer in charge, was tasked to join the team due to her ability to speak fluent German.

    The team arrived on scene two hours later and orbited overhead while King Ops, from the 39th Rescue Squadron at Patrick AFB, communicated with the ship below, the Nord Nightingale.

    “We had the lifeboat in the water and the freighter was about 2 miles away,” said Capt. Dan Morgese, an aircraft commander. Finally, five pararescuemen plunged into the ocean.

    “Anytime you are putting someone out over the Atlantic (Ocean), it’s concerning,” said Morgese. “We train for this. It all worked out just fine. If there was a day to do it, it was today; the weather was perfect.”

    At the scene, the Nightingale motored a small boat toward the victims which allowed the pararescue Airmen to hoist the father-son duo onboard while several of the other rescue Airmen zoomed over to pick up the parabundles of medical equipment that splashed down just after them.

    Around the same time the HC-130 arrived on scene 500 miles away, two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters departed Patrick AFB with full tanks of gas to retrieve everyone and transport the victims to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Fortunately a Pave Hawk can fly approximately 500 miles on one tank of gas, the approximate distance to the scene. To top off their gas tanks, the helicopters met up with the HC-130 on its return to Patrick AFB for aerial refueling.

    About an hour later, an additional HC-130 took off from Patrick AFB to serve as fuel reserve for the helicopter's return trip.

    “Kudos to maintenance for getting us airborne,” said Morgese. “They (the HC-130s) are 93 models; our maintainers work hard.”

    The pararescuemen treated and stabilized the patients, then transferred them to the Nightingale to be picked up by the inbound helicopter.

    At approximately 8:20 p.m., the two Pave Hawk crews hoisted and recovered all seven from the ship and journeyed back to central Florida where they landed on an Orlando High School football field at 1:30 a.m. and handed off the patients to the Orlando Fire Department to get them to their final destination, the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

    “When you actually get to do something you train for; it’s really satisfying,” said Morgese. “Excellent communication and planning among all involved, made the mission successful.”
    Source: http://www.usafe.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1242034/rescue-airmen-save-two-german-citizens-stranded-at-sea/ 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs / Published July 10, 2017

  • Casey
     
    4 people killed after Military plane crashes in Sunflower County
    The FAA confirms a Military Plane has crashed at the Sunflower and Leflore county line.
    The crash was reported Monday Evening on Moorehead and Itta Bena Roads.
    Several fire departments responded to the aircraft down in a field and burning.
    The plane could be seen burning and producing large clouds of black smoke from Highway 82.
    Investigators say the plane is a C-130, which departed from Cherry Point, North Carolina with eight people on board. At least four people are confirmed
    Source: http://www.wapt.com/article/plane-crashes-in-sunflower-county/10286085
    By Keegan Foxx


  • Casey

    The manufacturer of the American C-130 has begun marketing a special operations variant of the C-130J specifically for export customers. This model, called C-130J-SOF is similar to what some export customers (like India and several NATO countries) have already ordered. These C-130Js have some of the customization that is standard with the MC-130J special operations model American special operations forces have been using versions of since 2011. This includes a sturdier fuselage, landing gear and wing to handle more stress and emergency situations in general (like lots more landings on unpaved landing strips). The major visible addition is additional radar and navigation gear to turn the aircraft into one capable of operating at night and in all sorts of nasty weather. There are also provisions for additional crew (like another loadmaster to handle paratroopers and special cargo and one or more additional electronics specialists in the cockpit.) Other extras include hard points on the wings (for sensors or missiles) and additional electrical generation capability and upgraded wiring to handle more electronics as well as quickly adding the ability to serve as an aerial tanker.
    The C-130J-SOF is a lot closer to the MC-130J in terms of mods that make it quick and easy to temporarily turn a C-130J-SOF a gunship by adding pallets of electronics and operator stations and adding additional sensors externally and weapons like Hellfire (and smaller) laser guided missiles plus a 30mm autocannon firing out the rear cargo door (modified to accommodate such a weapon.) The C-130J-SOF will be modified for each export customer depending on their needs and what special equipment they will use (like weapons and electronics from non-U.S. suppliers). Converting the C-130J-SOF to a tanker uses a similar approach although export customers may simply wish their SOF aircraft to be capable of landing at a forward airfield and refuel helicopters and other aircraft on the ground.
    In 2017 U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) received the last of 37 MC-130J all-weather transports that were ordered in 2009 and began arriving in 2011 This is part of a major program to upgrade and expand the SOCOM fleet of specialized aircraft. Despite cuts in the American defense budget since 2010 SOCOM gets money for its aircraft program because SOCOM personnel are still in big demand worldwide.
    Since 2009 SOCOM has been devoting the largest chunk of its procurement budget to aircraft and most of that is going for one type of aircraft; the C-130J. SOCOM wants to buy about a hundred C-130Js and use them as commando transports (MC-130J) or gunships (AC-130J). In addition several hundred million dollars is being spent on sensors and weapons that can be quickly installed in MC-130Js to turn them into temporary gunships.
    The MC-130J was part of a larger U.S. Air Force effort to replace 200 worn out C-130Es. The C-130J transport proved to be more than just another model in the original (1950s) C-130 design. This is mainly because the J model is cheaper and easier to use. Like most new commercial transports, the C-130J emphasizes saving money. The new engines generate 29 percent more thrust while using 15 percent less fuel. Increased automation reduced crew size from four to three. The rear ramp door can now be opened in flight when the aircraft is going as fast as 450 kilometers an hour, versus the current 270 kilometers an hour.
    The SOCOM MC-130s are all-weather aircraft used for everything from moving SOCOM personnel and equipment around the combat zone, to parachuting supplies, refueling helicopters in the air, dropping bombs and propaganda leaflets, or loading a pallet or two of electronic gear for special reconnaissance or psychological warfare missions. MC-130s are particularly useful because they have terrain following radar that enables them to fly at low altitude, especially at night or during bad weather. MC-130s have several additional navigation and communication systems, which allow them to fly in all weather, especially low enough to avoid radar detection.
    C-130Js have cost nearly twenty percent less per hour than previous models. The most common version of the C-130 still in service is the C-130H. It has a range of 8,368 kilometers, a top speed of 601 kilometers per hour, and can carry up to 18 tons of cargo, 92 troops, or 64 paratroopers. The latest version, the C-130J, has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C-130H, and can carry 20 tons of cargo. The stretched C-130J-30 can carry more bulky cargo, and goes for about $100 million each. The C-130J has a top speed of 644 kilometers, 40 percent more range than the C130H. The C-130 has been in service for over half a century, and has been flying for over 50 countries.
    As special operations have become more common worldwide so has been demand for air transports to support it. There are other aircraft out there competing with the C-130 but for one reason or another (and some bad luck) there has been no formidable competition. That may eventually happen, but for now more countries are realizing that the best deal available is the one that’s been around since the 1960s.
    Source: https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsf/articles/20170709.aspx

  • Casey
     

    Bangladesh has entered into a Government-to-government deal with the United Kingdom to purchase two C-130J C5 tactical transport aircraft to boost transport capabilities of its air force.
    Financed under the FY 2017-2018 defense budget, Bangladesh will become the ninth operator of the C-130J C5 in Asia, bdmilitary.com reported Thursday. However, the details are not known yet.
    Dhaka currently has four Lockheed C-130E Hercules aircraft and two Let L-410 Turbolet Transport aircraft in its transport aircraft fleet.
    The C5 variant of the C-130J has been modified and upgraded to include new Allison AE turboprop engines and Dowty Aerospace six-bladed composite propellers. The C-130J is used for tactical operations, parachute insertions and air dispatch of cargo.
    Source: http://www.defenseworld.net/news/19809/Bangladesh_To_Buy_Two_RAF_C130J_Transport_Planes#.WWJaZ7pFyHs
     

  • Casey

    The C-130 mission at Dyess Air Force Base got a boost Thursday when the 317th Airlift Group under command of Stephen L. Hodge took a bow, then immediately was reborn as the 317th Airlift Wing under Col. David L. Owens.
    Hodge, who had commanded the Airlift Group from August 2015, said the change represented a “momentous day for combat airlift and the C-130.”
    In the Air Force, wings, usually commanded by a colonel, have distinct missions, with specific and significant scopes.
    Dyess now has two wings, including the 7th Bomb Wing commanded by Col. David M. Benson, who also is base commander.
    The bomb wing's mission is to provide airmen and air power for the B-1B and is the Air Force's only B-1B formal training unit. 
    The airlift group's size and scope warranted designation as an operational wing as it "continuously generates and employs C-130J combat power," according to information provided by Dyess.
    As commander of the new 317th Airlift Wing, Owens is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping 1,200 personnel who operate, maintain and sustain 28 C-130 aircraft.
    There are four active-duty C-130 wings in the Air Force, he said after the ceremony.
    “I’ve been in the Air Force 21 years, and I’ve had the honor of commanding three times,” Owens said. “I’ve commanded the squadron level, I just got done commanding at the group level in Washington. And this is the tip of the iceberg, I guess – I’m getting to, one, be a wing commander, but, two, have an ability to stand-up a wing. And we get to kind of craft it, and we get to grow it, and it’s going to be a blast.”
    The 317th Airlift Group was made up of the 39th and 40th Airlift Squadrons, the 317th Maintenance Squadron and the 317th Operations Support Squadron.
    The 317th Operations Group, now under Col. James R. Hackbarth, and the 317th Maintenance Group, under Col. William G. Maxwell Jr., were activated Thursday, elevating those squadrons.
    Dyess’ C-130s have been at the base for more than 20 years, Owens said, with a thriving and successful relationship with the base’s bomb wing.
    “They are the most tactically sound C-130 unit in the Air Force,” he said. “And so we’re just putting a wing on top of this, and we’re going to try to grow it and make it even better.”
    Owens said little if anything should change for the current pilots and maintainers.
    “We’re going to still come to work, we’re going to do our thing and we’re going to fly that beautiful airplane all around the world,” he said.
    Owens said he wanted to see the wing continue to innovate, noting Dyess had traditionally been a model for such. “Everybody looks at Dyess to see what Dyess has always done, and they’ll continue to look at what Dyess will do,” he said.
    Lt. Gen. Giovanni K. Tuck, commander of the 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, compared the ceremony to a “four-part dance.”
    A deactivation by itself tends to be bittersweet, he said.
    “(But) a wing activation from a group, it’s amazingly special,” he said.
    After the ceremony, Tuck said a wing gives its commander an opportunity for responsibility and authority such as other wings in the Air Force enjoy.
    “By having it be a group in the past, it’s just not given it that last umph, that last opportunity to say hey, we’ve got (28) airplanes on this ramp, we’ve got maintainers, operators, civilians, and they make it all happen,” he said. “The reason why it’s an important day today is because it makes sense for us to do, it right-sizes what this unit ought to be in terms of a full-blown wing, and it gets the resources and authorizations where it needs to be.”  
    The deactivation and subsequent elevation have been in the works “for quite some time,” Tuck said.
    Source: http://www.gosanangelo.com/story/news/local/2017/07/08/new-c-130-wing-takes-flight-dyess-afb/461991001/
    Brian Bethel , Abilene Reporter- News Published 1:43 p.m. CT July 8, 2017
    Image: Lockheed Martin 

  • Casey

    The unmistakable Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules has been a staple of western military forces as a cargo aircraft. A modern civilian version of the “J” model was first shown last spring, which caused some avgeeks and analysis to scratch their heads wondering “why?”. It appears that Lockheed Martin thinks that there is actually a market for the new LM-100J.
    This isn’t the first time that the C-130 has seen civilian action. There was an earlier version, the L-100, that was produced until 1992, and these aircraft were used for things like crucial deliveries and disaster relief. Even Delta Air Lines operated a few for a period of time. The original L-100s are aging though and in need of replacement.  Outside of the LM-100J, there are very few options for outsize cargo airlift. Many have been retired for structural issues and high operating expenses.
    The new version, the LM-100J, can haul 35,000 pounds of cargo approximately 2,800 nautical miles, and features significant improvements over the original L-100. The very first delivery of the latest version is scheduled for early 2018.
    Lockheed Martin certainly seems to think so (or at least enough of a market to sell about 100 of the aircraft) with general manager for Air Mobility & Maritime Missions George Shultz saying, “Our existing L-100 operators have repeatedly shared with us that the only replacement for a Herc is a Super Herc, and we are proud to meet this demand with the LM-100J. There is a significant global requirement for commercial freight operations to support operations in more austere areas. The LM-100J will not only meet these demands, but exceed them by delivering new and unmatched capabilities to the commercial marketplace by transporting cargo on any runway, anywhere, all the time.”
      They anticipate the aircraft can be used for heavy cargo, firefighting, airdrops, disaster relief, search and rescue, mining support and more — even tourism, as it becomes more fashionable for those with enough cash to travel to the most remote places of the world (say, the South Pole?). It does bode well for Lockheed that they’re expanding the overall goal of the aircraft beyond cargo and humanitarian aid.  We’re just skeptical that airlines and/or private operators will ever invest in the type.  The LM-100 is unique but it is not cheap to operate, nor common to any other aircraft in the fleet.
    Lockheed does have a few letters of intent in for the aircraft so far, including seven intended for ASL, the original launch customer.
    Source:  http://www.avgeekery.com/is-there-a-market-for-a-civilian-c-130/
    by Holly Riddle

  • Casey

    The C-130H Hercules has ensured the 374th Airlift Wing remains the primary Western Pacific airlift hub for peacetime and contingency operations. Continuing this legacy is its newer model the C-130J Super Hercules, which has completed its first operational mission by transporting personnel and cargo for their sister service, July 1, 2017.

    The four cargo pallets containing U.S. military training equipment, weighed approximately 12,000 pounds, and were transported from near Clark Air Base, Philippines, back to Yokota Air Base, Japan.

    With a 30 percent increase in capability compared to its previous model, the C-130J can fly higher, faster, with less fuel burn and carry more cargo. Thus, being able to accomplish Yokota’s airlift mission with a significant reduction in time and resources.

    “This was our opportunity to showcase to headquarters that the aircrew and maintainers are ready to hit the road and bring that capability to Pacific Air Forces,” said Maj. Chris Dolby, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot and aircraft commander.

    With Yokota continuously transitioning to using the Super Hercules’ and phasing out the C-130Hs by early 2018, the C-130J will continue to help the U.S. military strengthen alliances and partnerships with other countries throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific Region.

    “The C-130s at Yokota has been historically at the forefront of international engagements with our partner nations throughout south-east Asia,” said Dolby. “Having the J-model operational at Yokota for U.S. forces really helps solidify these partnerships.”
    Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/240201/yokotas-c-130j-completes-first-operational-mission
    Story by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres  07.06.2017
    Note: C-130J-30 15-5813 c/n 5813
     

  • Casey

     
    The 17th Special Operations Squadron observed its annual ‘Day of the Jakal’ with a mass launch of five U.S. Air Force Special Operations MC-130J Commando IIs, June 22, 2017, at Kadena Air Base and Ie Shima Range, Okinawa, Japan.
     
    “It’s a great way to showcase the abilities of both the 353rd Special Operations Group and 17th Special Operations Squadron,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Dube, 17th SOS operations officer. “To get out and put mass on objective. It shows how we can meet the emerging mission sets for both SOCKOR and SOCPAC out here in the Pacific theater.”
     
    Five MC-130Js flew in formation from Kadena Air Base to Ie Shima Range to practice mass on objective training to include airdrops, aircraft landings, and rapid infiltration and exfiltration of equipment.
     
    “Lots of training and planning goes into ‘Day of the JAKAL’,” said Dube. “First off you have five pieces of iron that weight about 140 thousand pounds flying in formation 500 feet apart. Additionally, aircrews need to drop bundles right on the mark where they need to resupply troops. It’s a good training evolution for these guys.”
     
    In addition to the 17th SOS, the 353rd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron and 353rd Special Operation Support Squadron had a role in supporting the event.
     
    “This day is all about building cohesion and comradery within the 17th SOS and rest of the group that are a part of the team,” said U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Kade Bollinger, 17th SOS instructor loadmaster. “We executed multiple events that we do downrange. It was great to have a competitive training event amongst, not just the aircrew, but encompassing maintenance and enablers as well. The JAKALs are one big family and we wanted to get everybody involved.”
     
    The 17th SOS proudly exemplifies their motto, ‘no mission too demanding’ in both training and real-world contingencies.
     
    “There is no mission too great for the JAKALs,” said DuBe. “I have the utmost faith in the guys that I fly with and work with every day. They are the best trained and I’d put them up against anybody in the world.”
     
    The 17th SOS traces its heritage back to World War II when the unit was activated as the 17th Observation Squadron (Light) on March 2, 1942. The squadron flew the HC-130P/N, later re-designated MC-130P/N, to provide covert aerial refueling for special operations helicopters. Its other missions included infiltrating, exfiltrating and resupplying special operations forces.
     
    The 17th SOS currently operates six MC-130J Commando II aircraft.
     
    Source: http://www.afsoc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/article/1234540/pacific-air-commandos-launch-on-day-of-jakal/
    By Capt. Jessica Tait, 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs / Published June 30, 2017

  • Casey

    You don’t always have everything you want on a deployment. No sixty inch plasma with video game console in your room, so you bring a laptop to play your games. Your cell phone doesn’t have coverage unless you pay exorbitant roaming fees, so you video chat with your family over Wi-Fi when you can instead. You make it work, however you can.
    That is what the men and women of the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron combat metals shop did recently when a C-130 tire blewout on landing at a forward operating base, and the body of the tire kicked up and bent the left landing gear door. They took what they had and made it work.   The damage to the door called for a complete part replacement, and shipping was going to take about two weeks, according to Capt Donovan Ricks, the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer.
    “It was just one of those situations where we couldn’t just sit around and wait,” said Ricks. “Every second that one of our aircraft isn’t fully mission-capable represents pallets stacking up, people not getting downrange, and war fighters not getting what they need to accomplish their mission.”

    Led by Master Sgt. Daniel Taylor, the 386th EMXS combat metals flight chief, the combat metals airmen got to work. They began by removing the door and hammering the dents and creases out of the sheet metal as best they could.  During disassembly they learned that the damage to the door extended beyond the metal skin to the structural ribs of the door.
    “We made a forming block out of plywood that had the same contour shape as the landing gear door as the mold. We used that mold to make sure the ribs we fabricated would match the factory specifications exactly, in addition to making sure the door would fit flush to the fuselage,” said Taylor.
    After the parts were fabricated and the metal skin that wasn’t able to be straightened was removed, the ten-person combat metals team set the ribs in place and spliced a new piece of sheet metal on to the landing gear door. After a final fit, trim, and function test, the aircraft was returned to service.
    The repair cost the Air Force 229 man-hours, $400 in material, and 264 rivets for an engineer approved air battle damage repair procedure—a repair that’s usually beyond field-level capabilities. In total, the efforts of the combat metals team saved the Air Force almost $107K in replacement cost by making it work with what they had over the course of the three-day repair, as well as returning the aircraft to service eight days early.
    “I’m very proud of this team for the way they problem solved this damage repair,” said Maj Odi Diambra, the 386 EMXS Commander. “It shows that they truly understand how important the mission is here and are willing to work hard, think outside the box and put their skills to the test to keep our planes flying and maintain our combat capabilities.”
    Source: http://www.afcent.af.mil/Units/386th-Air-Expeditionary-Wing/News/Display/Article/1234273/386th-emxs-combat-metals-team-innovates-repair-saves-air-force-thousands/
    By Master Sgt. Eric M. Sharman, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs / Published June 30, 2017

  • Casey

    YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Twenty-four whirring propeller blades sang a deafening tune as a Super Hercules cargo plane barreled down Yokota’s wet runway Friday morning in western Tokyo.
    Picking up speed, the aircraft lifted off the pavement, its gray body swiftly obscured by clouds dark with rain. The takeoff marked the beginning of the first operational flight by one of the 374th Airlift Wing’s new C-130J aircraft since the first arrived earlier this year.
    Yokota pilots underwent months of training on the J model, which boasts more advanced avionics compared to the venerable H model that’s being phased out. Mechanical controls on the old planes, which are being sent to Air National Guard units in the states, are replaced by computers and digital systems on the Super Hercs.
    “It’s been three months learning to fly the J, and I’m very excited to get my chance to fly a mission with it,” said Lt. Col. Jesse Klaetsch, a pilot with the 36th Airlift Squadron. “It’s nice to do what you’ve been trained to do.”
    Source: https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/super-hercules-operational-debut-a-wet-one-at-yokota-air-base-japan-1.476019#.WWJTyrpFyHt
    By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 30, 2017
    Note: C-130J-30 15-5813 c/n 5813

  • Casey

    ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT OVER IRAQ — The 386th Air Expeditionary Wing’s C-130 Hercules mission may not be the most glamorous part of the U.S. military’s fight against the Islamic State, but it’s vital.
    During a single mission on Wednesday, a crew of six moved nearly 100 people including special operations forces, allies and civilians — and roughly 15 tons of cargo such as ammunition, tactical equipment, building materials, fuel, food, blood packs.
    Military.com joined the C-130H3’s 12-hour operation to several locations in Iraq. The 386th, based elsewhere in Southwest Asia, invited this reporter along under the condition last names, specific locations, tactics and procedures not be disclosed.
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    “I would say the C-130 — we’re more like the blue collar guys of Air Force [operations],” Capt. Dennis, the co-pilot, said during the mission.
    “We bring our lunch pail to work every day, punch in the timecard, and get the mission done,” said Dennis, who, if it were standard for non-combat pilots to have a call sign, said he’d be called “Thundercat.”
    The crew for Wednesday’s flight included pilots, a navigator, a flight engineer and loadmasters, all of whom hailed from the National Guard’s 156th Airlift Squadron in Charlotte, North Carolina. In theater, they’re part of the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. The mission was their last in the Middle East before returning home.
    “There’s nothing holding us back when we’re out here,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin, the flight engineer.
    “We’re always doing something,” added Capt. Ashley, the navigator. “Really, the C-130 is out helping people, and that’s why I love being a part of this mission.”
    Flying east, the crew watched out the C-130’s front windows for anything suspicious as the Hercules descended. Before landing, they suited up with protective armor, per protocol.
    “Welcome to Iraq,” Ashley said.
    Complex Theater
    Despite the complexity of the fight against ISIS and, in Syria, the uncertainties surrounding how the U.S. will respond to pro-Syrian regime forces moving forward — the crew pressed on.
    “We try not to pay attention, to be honest,” said Ashley, when asked if the latest U.S. “red line” comment against Syria worried the crew.
    President Donald Trump’s administration a day earlier announced it was conceiving a potential targeted response against President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was aware that “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack” were looming.
    “Our missions go on more than anyone else’s do,” Justin said. Officials said there has not been “any stoppage” on airlift in areas near contested airspace.
    However, tasking for flights can change rapidly, even in the air.
    “Stuff pops up, and we deal with it as it comes,” said Maj. Joe, the crew’s mission commander and pilot.
    “It’s a complex environment,” said Col. Charles D. Bolton, the 386th commander. “We fly with the same defense systems we’ve had for a while. We’re trained to operate in this environment and have been for many, many years.”
    And that’s due to the C-130’s tactical advantage. Much more flexible and agile than its larger cousin, the C-17 Globemaster III, the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made C-130s can carry approximately 45,000 pounds and airdrop loads up to 42,000 pounds.
    Roughly 50 years old — depending on model — the planes carry decoy flares. When launched by the automatic system that detects a threat, the flare draws a rocket to lock onto it instead of the aircraft. There are also internal armored panels throughout the floors and sides of the craft to provide additional protection.
    “For us, there’s nothing different. We haven’t had anything [happen] to our aircraft,” Bolton continued. “This is what we do. We’re going to fly and do what we do every day.”
    When asked about the seemingly fluid “deconfliction zone” in Syria, he said there are higher-threat areas the C-130’s will logically avoid.
    “We generally don’t go ‘downtown’ as what we call it,” Bolton said. “We might be tasked to, and if we are, that will be thought out and planned appropriately.”
    The 156th crew said they’ve been part of airdrops supplying U.S.-backed forces on the frontlines in Syria.
    “I prefer to fly into Iraq as opposed to Syria for combat support — but that’s just my preference,” Joe said.
    Even so, Joe said he enjoys doing airdrops — less prevalent than standard transport — because C-130 crews “spend so much time training for them, and it’s good to see operationally.”
    “This is, after all, a combat-focused mission,” he said.
    And that’s how any aviation crew should see it, Bolton said. “When you go … to fly every day, you’re thinking, ‘This is war, This is combat.’ “
    A Clear-Focused Run
    Before this particular flight began, a crew member recited a favorite quote that “brings them inspiration,” per the crew’s tradition. Staff Sgt. Cody, a loadmaster, chose the speech President Thomas Whitmore — played by Bill Pullman — famously made in the film “Independence Day.”
    It was the crew’s own good-luck juju, which held through the hours-long flight to a handful of locations, and the last to close out their four-month deployment.
    As the sun went down, the onboard dynamic changed slightly. The C-130 went dark. The crew strapped into armor, and night-vision goggles came on. Only a blanket of fires from Iraqis below and stars from above lit the way forward.
    Approaching the last strip, the crew went silent, watching for movement from Islamic State forces on the ground, and also coalition aircraft from any direction. The airspace was busy but not overwhelming, with aircraft such as coalition drones and aerostats.
    The crew still carefully changed altitudes or directions as needed.
    “We’re used to this,” Joe said.
    The final load of the night went out under dim lights. Before taking off again, they saw a rocket flare launched from some miles away. “I don’t know what that was,” Joe said but said it happens from time to time as ISIS has been known to operate in the area.
    On the return trip, flight engineer Justin had one more mission — to re-enlist aboard the aircraft in Iraqi airspace. The 16-year Air Force veteran put in for at least four more years. Dennis administered the oath.
    “I know 100 percent this is my last” re-enlistment, Justin said. “Mainly because I hate every second I have to be away from my kids. [Still] it is the best when it is just the six of us [crew] doing what we gotta do,” he said.
    Ashley said, “What makes mobility stand out is we flex to what the need is. We have the opportunity out here to do something on the edge of what C-130s are capable of doing — that’s something.”
    Source: http://itruck.news/flying-with-the-blue-collar-guys-on-a-c-130-mission-in-iraq/

  • Casey

    Approximately 200 members of the 180th Fighter Wing, 179th Airlift Wing and 107th Calvary Regiment joined forces joined forces with an additional 200 military members from six allied and partner nations and 10 different airframes from throughout Europe for the two-week exercise, to include Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the United States.

    Load Diffuser 17, the largest Hungarian-led, large-force integration exercise, to-date, in the country's history, took more than a year to plan and four planning meetings at the Hungarian Air Base with both Ohio National Guard and the Hungarian Air Force mission planners.

    Though the last Load Diffuser took place seven years ago, when the Ohio National Guard's 178th Fighter Wing participated in the exercise, the U.S. has maintained a positive relationship with the Hungarian military for more than 20 years, recently supporting several other integrated training exercises, including a Heavy Airlift Wing partnership at Papa Air Base, Hungary; a bilateral KC-135 air refueling training event in June, 2015, an F-15 Eagle fighter jet training event in September, 2015, at Kecskemet Air Base; and an F-16 Fighting Falcon training exercise at Papa Air Base in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

    The Ohio National Guard and Hungary began their partnership in 1993 as part of the National Guard Bureau's State Partnership Program, linking the unique capabilities of the National Guard with the armed forces of allied nations. Ohio was specifically partnered with Hungary because of the high population of citizens with Hungarian ancestry in addition to the vastly similar geographical characteristics of both regions.

    By connecting a state's National Guard with a partner nation's military, both build cooperative, mutually beneficial relationships, focused on enhancing capabilities and readiness, and a stronger commitment to the collective defense and security of Europe through combined operations and interoperability.

    Multinational training exercises like Load Diffuser 17 allow both the U.S. Air Force and participating NATO allied and partner militaries to hone joint warfighting capabilities through operational training while building successful and progressive relationships leading to tangible and mutual benefits during peacetime, contingencies and crises through regional security and coalition operations.

    "Here at Exercise Load Diffuser, we have touched every mission in the air domain, from interdiction, to air superiority, to strike, to surveillance, to airlift, and to command and control," said Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa. "And what we know after this exercise is that each and every one of our maintainers, operators and mission supporters will be much more capable in their ability to defend the nation and the cause."

    Wolters, along with several other senior military and government officials from the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, U.S. Air Force, Hungarian Defence Forces and Ohio National Guard, visited the air base throughout the exercise, underscoring the impact multinational exercises, such as Load Diffuser, have on the enhancement of joint readiness and interoperability.

    Highlighting the strong friendship between the U.S. and Hungary, Wolters touted that U.S. Air Force participation in the exercise was made possible by the Total Force team of the Ohio National Guard.

    "The Ohio National Guard has been the state partner with Hungary for more than two decades," said Wolters. "I am pleased that the Ohio Guard's six F-16s and two C-130s could deploy here to engage with our NATO allies, support defense security goals and take advantage of these valuable training opportunities."

    The Air National Guard has long provided critical support throughout the USAFE-AFAFRICA region and areas of operation by deploying and interacting with a variety of nations in combined exercises that strive to enhance capabilities and skills among allied and partner air forces.

    Participation in multinational exercises improves overall coordination with allies and partner militaries, helps to ensure interoperability and enables our European allies and partners to globally deploy their forces alongside the U.S. It is exercises like these that are the key to maintaining joint readiness and reassuring our regional allies and partners.

    "Exercise Load Diffuser is emblematic of what it takes to have a functional and effective defense alliance," said Mr. David J. Kostelancik, Chargé d'Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Budapest. "Behind all of the ideas and planning and agreements and discussions and paperwork, it comes down to talented, committed men and women in uniform who will reach across language, cultural and historic divides and do the difficult work of communicating, coordinating and solving problems, and that's what we see here today."

    Along with the rare chance to interact with foreign militaries, Load Diffuser 17 also provided the opportunity to conduct force integration sorties, training with dissimilar aircraft, such as the Hungarian and Czech Republic JAS 39 Gripens, Slovenian PC-9 Swift, Croatian Mi-17 HIP Helicopter, the L-39 Albatros and L-159 Atlas from the Czech Republic, and U.S. C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft.

    Training with dissimilar aircraft allows allies and partner militaries to work together on mastering combat tactics and operational-level campaigns in a controlled, strategic, advanced and realistic environment.

    "Conducting these realistic training missions in this environment was an intentional aspect specifically built into the exercise to help pilots and mission planners learn to overcome the obstacles they would face in a real-world coalition effort, such as language barriers and differences in operational procedures," said Lt. Col. Greg Barasch, 112th Fighter Squadron Commander and deployed detachment commander. "Many of the issues can be easily resolved from using brevity words, short phrases used by pilots to communicate information contributing to the ability to successful execution of world-wide deployments and coalition missions."

    Throughout the exercise, the Ohio National Guard's F-16s and C-130s flew 125 missions totaling 147 flying hours training in simulated combat missions with a high number of allied aircraft attacking or defending against a high number of adversary aircraft and ground targets.

    Flying a variety of missions to include basic fighter maneuvers, air combat maneuvers, defensive counter air, close air support, strike coordination and reconnaissance, rescue efforts and airlift missions, this exercise honed vital readiness skills by enhancing multilateral air operations, and promoting stability and security throughout the European region.

    Not only that, this training provided the strategic agility needed to fight against a formidable and aggressive adversary by training as they would integrate to maintain air superiority and conduct offensive and defensive tactics in combat situations.

    "We demonstrated the capability to operate in a complex, multinational environment with precise execution," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Markovich, Commander, Ohio Air National Guard. "We must have a deep bench of Airmen with first-hand experience operating in these types of environments with different regional partners. This type of exercise builds confidence, identifies opportunities for improvement and creates trust between partners."

    "Our ability to manage the challenges of today's dynamic security environment hinges on how well we work together," said Wolters. "Load Diffuser is an opportunity for allies to learn from each other and recognize the unique strengths each nation brings to the fight and it highlighted that our greatest strength is working together."
    Source: https://www.dvidshub.net/news/239309/ohio-national-guard-strengthens-partnership-with-allied-nations

  • Casey

    Sydney-based manufacturer Quickstep Holding has extended its partnership with US defense and aerospace company Lockheed Martin by becoming a supplier to its new LM-100J commercial freighter.
    The company, which is the largest independent aerospace-grade advanced composite manufacturer in Australia, also supplies wing flaps to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.
    The LM-100J freighter, which recently made its global debut at the 2017 Paris Air Show, is based on the C-130J Super Hercules military tactical airlifter.
    “The Quickstep team is extremely proud to be the supplier of the wing flaps for the LM-100J in addition to the C130J military version of this aircraft,” said Mark Burgess, Quickstep’s recently appointed CEO and managing director.
    “The introduction of the LM-100J signifies a new chapter in Hercules operations and we are proud to be a part of this new platform that will truly change the commercial freighter marketplace.”
    Burgess joined Quickstep on May 8 after four years as vice president at Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific and a career with BAE Systems.
    “I am genuinely excited about Quickstep’s future,” he said. “ We are generating positive cash flow from our aerospace operations.”
    Source: http://www.manmonthly.com.au/news/quickstep-adds-lockheed-martin-aerospace-portfolio/

  • Casey

    The Air Force's latest outstanding unit is made up of Colorado Springs airmen who do their duty on a part-time basis.
    The 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base earned the service's Outstanding Unit Award, a medal now worn by each of its airmen, for "distinguishing themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units."
    The wing's commander Col. James DeVere said his team of reservists got the honor for hard work, including battles against 15 wildfires, accomplished in a family atmosphere where the longevity of airmen is often measured in decades.
    "They are out here and balancing their civilian jobs with their military jobs and their families," DeVere said.
    It's the eighth time the unit has earned the Air Force's top award for collective performance.
    While the award cites the 302nd's other accomplishments at home and overseas, too, the unit is best known as the nation's aerial fire department. Using four-engined C-130 transport planes, crews from the wing fly low over wildfires to drop lines of retardant, 379,000 gallons of it in 2015 alone, ahead of the flames.
    DeVere, who first served with the wing in 2007, came back to take command last year.
    "I can't tell you how proud I am," DeVere said. "When I came back I knew this wing was a great place to be associated with."
    For airmen who drill one weekend a month and serve another two weeks a year on duty, the 302nd gets a lot of work done. The award cited the unit's 4,000 flights a year, and the combined 2,000 days of support it offered to Operation Atlantic Resolve, a series of military training exercises in Europe.
    The unit's mechanics also earned plaudits. While the wing's planes are nearly 25 years old, the 302nd was honored for having the best-maintained C-130s in the Air Force Reserve and having its aircraft ready for war at a rate that's one of the highest in the Air Force.
    The 302nd's work ethic also spreads to the wing's record of community service.
    DeVere said his airmen help in schools, coach youth teams, raise cash for charity and helped build low-income housing in the Pikes Peak region.
    All from a group that already has full-time civilian employment and a part-time military obligation.
    "That's the amazing thing - they seem to find the time to go out and volunteer," DeVere said.
    The unit already has dozens of its airmen serving in the Middle East and is readying for a wider deployment of its troops after training this fall.
    "We're focusing on making sure those folks have the training and are ready to do their jobs," DeVere said.
    The 302nd also is standing by to fight fires this summer if they are needed.
    DeVere said one of the biggest assets possessed by his wing is the broad swath of experience his airmen bring from their civilian jobs.
    The bulk of his pilots fly for airlines when not in uniform. Many of his security forces troops are local cops when they're not on Reserve duty.
    "They can take that experience from the civilian world and bring it into the Air Force and vice-versa," he said.
    The outstanding unit award comes with a ribbon for dress uniforms, but it doesn't come with cash or promotions.
    DeVere said his group isn't worried about material rewards or fanfare for a job well-done.
    "The biggest payback is the satisfaction," he said. "We're all here because we want to be here."
      By: Tom Roeder  June 25, 2017
    Source: http://gazette.com/part-time-colorado-springs-airmen-earn-big-full-time-award/article/1605902

  • Casey

    “We aim for first pass success. One pass, one drop,” said Maj. Josh Linden, the 386th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron chief of tactics, as he described the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing’s airdrop mission.  
    The 386th AEW conducted several combat airdrop missions over the past few months, including one over the weekend, in direct support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve ground troops.  
    Providing the fuel that keeps the fight going, the 386th AEW has delivered more than 80 tons of food, water and other critical supplies to various supported forces throughout the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility. 
    “We are resupplying the warfighters on the ground to sustain their ground operations in the fight against ISIS,” said Capt. Michelle Urso, the 386th EOSS flying intelligence squadron’s officer in charge. 
    When secure runways are not available for aircraft to land, dropping container delivery system bundles into hostile areas becomes necessary, but getting this close to the fight does not come without inherent risk. 
    “We are conducting airdrop missions for a reason,” said Urso. “Being a target to be shot down is not out of the realm of possibility for these types of mission.” 
    Compared to the traditional air-land mission, where the plane takes off, lands and supplies are off-loaded; airdrop missions are more complex and require a lot more coordinating and planning, according to Linden.  
    “As intel, we work with multiple agencies, sift through all of the current intelligence products and gather the most pertinent data,” said Urso. “From there we analyze the threats and work with tactics to ensure that we have the safest possible routing for our aircrew.” 
    “Every airdrop is different, even if we go to the same place twice in a row on two different days,” said Linden. “The geo-political climate is different, the threat picture is different, and even the supported forces who are on the ground might be different day to day. Every airdrop is unique out here in the AOR and we take it drop by drop to go plan it.” 
    These airdrop missions, delivering critical supplies to the frontlines, are what the C-130 Hercules crews work so hard and train for, said Maj. Timothy Lang, the 386th EOSS operations officer. 
    “It’s a challenging mission, but any one C-130 crew would raise their hand for and jump at the opportunity to execute a combat airdrop,” said Lang. “As the OSS operations officer, I can tell you our squadron brings a team effort from numerous players who are behind the scenes, but still play a pivotal role in a mission’s success.” 
    From tactics to intelligence to the weather section these teams work together days before the drop, planning and preparing the aircrew for any contingency that could arise. There are aircrew flight equipment personnel, who ensure that the aircrew’s gear is functioning properly, and airfield operations personnel, who make sure everything is in order at the airfield here so that the aircrew can launch without issues. All of the operations support functions combine their efforts to ensure a safe and effective mission execution with first pass success.
    Source: http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1224179/386th-aew-deliver-critical-supplies-to-frontlines/
     

  • Casey

    As the sun slowly rose over the eastern horizon, 19 C-130 aircraft, both Hercules and Super Hercules models, made their way across the Nevada landscape. While the aircraft progressed towards their target, the gorges and canyons below seemed like nothing more than a web of cracks across the countryside.
    A 94th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules and its aircrew were among these planes and, along with more than 90 other aircraft, participated in the Joint Forcible Entry Exercise, hosted and led by the current graduating class of the United States Air Force Weapons School, to practice conducting large multi-platform operations within a contested degraded environment.
    “The operation was to neutralize enemy forces within an area that severely limits our abilities, and then conduct aerial insertion of our own troops,” said Capt. Brandon Calhoun, 700th Airlift Squadron aircraft commander. “We had to deal with radar and communications jamming while also being able to maneuver the aircraft and work with our crew.”
    The exercise, known as JFE Vul, utilized a large formation of aircraft to conduct low-level airdrops of ground troops within a simulated enemy environment, and included objectives such as neutralizing highly-sophisticated and well-coordinated defensive capabilities. While flying, the 700th AS pilots flew at low altitudes and performed evasive maneuvers, and also flew with a host of fighter and bomber aircraft, including A-10 Thunderbolts, F-15 Strike Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, B-1 Lancers and B-52 Stratofortresses.
    “During the exercise, we had to deal with air-to-air and surface-to-air threats,” said Maj. Mike McNulty, 700th AS flight navigator. “The enemy also had infrared and radio frequency jamming capabilities.”
    To accomplish the simulated mission, the USAFWS put together an operation that hosted a number of different platforms, totaling to more than 100 participating aircraft and 40 participating units from across the U.S.
    “There is a lot to be learned when integrating with other platforms,” said Calhoun. “Actually using so many different aircraft with different capabilities really prepares you to operate efficiently in a real world operation, and it is a great learning opportunity to see how to make processes better.”
    Because of the massive scale of the exercise, the aircrew from Dobbins had to adapt and overcome challenges not usually present in training, and through those challenges were able to better understand what to expect if there was ever such a real-world situation.
    “Communication was a huge challenge,” said Calhoun. “When you have more than 100 aircraft, most on the same frequency, all doing different missions, there is a lot of information. You’re constantly hearing statuses or mission calls, so you have to compartmentalize, filter, and determine what is important to your mission, all while piloting an aircraft, conducting maneuvers, and communicating with your own crew.”
    The exercise’s execution lasted one day, but in that short time it allowed for the 94th AW to demonstrate its capability to support the Air Force’s ability for air superiority and rapid global mobility, as well as acting in a joint command and control environment.
    Source: http://www.dobbins.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1224186/dobbins-flies-with-more-than-100-aircraft-in-joint-forcible-entry-exercise/

  • Casey

    The U.S. Air Force Weapons School's 34th Weapons Squadron capitalized on planning and collaboration to graduate its first class of students June 17 in the Class 17A HC-130J Combat King II weapons instructor course, laying the foundation to increase HC-130J weapons officers in the Combat Air Forces.
    As reported when the HC-130J WIC was approved in 2015, the course addresses a critical shortage of weapons officers in the fixed-wing platform for personnel recovery.
    Currently, the Air Force has just seven HC-130J weapons officers in the field, according to Maj. Nick Pettit, 34th WPS HC-130J assistant director of operations. All seven graduated from the 14th WPS’ Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130 WIC, when the 14th WPS had slots they were not filling with students from the special operations community.
    The first four weapons officers specifically trained in the HC-130J—Pettit, Maj. Joshua Daleiden, Maj. Maxwell Miller, and Maj. Daniel Ritter—planned and validated the new WIC in 2016 and are the instructors who taught the students of Class 17A.
    A complex aspect of planning the new WIC was ensuring availability of the HC-130J aircraft—provided by the 23rd Wing units based at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. The 34th WPS instructors worked closely with the 23rd Wing to balance the HC-130J WIC requirements with the 23rd Wing’s own training objectives and deployment requirements.
    “The primary challenge for the 34th is that careful planning has to happen for each sortie,” said Daleiden. “Coordinating the aircraft and then aligning that with the available range time is something that can’t be done on the spur of the moment when someone would like to reattack a sortie or have more flying opportunities.”
    When the WIC was validated in 2016, the HC-130Js were not based at Nellis. The instructors had to travel frequently to marry up with the aircraft and maintenance personnel. The time away from Nellis was significantly reduced, however, for Class 17A.
    “Class 17A was not scheduled to travel as much since the HC-130J community made more aircraft available for basing at Nellis,” said Pettit. “This allowed more integration with the 34th WPS’ HH-60G Pave Hawk WIC and other Weapons School squadrons.”
    The HC-130J instructors credit much of the course’s implementation success to teamwork. In developing the course, they drew on the existing syllabi and practices of the 14th WPS and 29th WPS C-130 courses and the 34th WPS’ HH-60G course. They then revised where needed to fit the desired learning objectives and tactics, techniques and procedures of combat search and rescue.
    During the WIC validation, the outstanding support continued. For example, the 23rd Wing and its maintenance personnel—especially Master Sgts. Christopher Meyer from Davis-Monthan’s 923rd AMXS and Jeremy Gilstrap from Moody’s 723rd AMXS—helped resolve aircraft and flying hour challenges for the instructors. In addition, the students from the 34th WPS HH-60G and 66th WPS A-10 courses championed the HC-130J’s integration into the fight.
    “The A-10 and HH-60 students provided leadership opportunities to the HC-130J validation,” said Pettit. “They really advocated for us and welcomed us in like one of their own.”
    Although the HC-130J WIC has room to improve as it matures, the instructors say they are pleased with the progress thus far.
    “Overall, we’re happy we accomplished what we set out to do, even though some refining will happen as we determine the best way to integrate with the rest of the CAF,” said Daleiden.
    “We’re not where we’d like to be yet, but we’re striving to get to that level,” added Pettit. “I expect the Class 17A graduates will take what we did and make it better.”
    Source: http://www.nellis.af.mil/News/Article/1224808/34th-wps-graduates-first-wic-built-for-hc-130j-combat-king-ii/

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