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  • 2019 C-130 News

    • C-130Hercules.net
      Lockheed Martin Aeronautics will sustain France’s C-130J aircraft fleet under a $12.4 million foreign military sales contract from the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, announced on 24 October.
      The contract will provide long term sustainment (LTS) for France's C-130J aircraft.  Critical components of LTS support include program management support; spares, supply support services; support equipment; diminishing manufacturing sources, sustaining engineering services, sustaining engineering/technical services; depot maintenance; aircraft modifications; and data and configuration management programs. 
      The work will run through January 2023.
      Source: https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/mil-log/lockheed-martin-support-french-c-130j-fleet/

    • Many in the Lake Area may have noticed a couple of C-130 aircraft sharing the sky Thursday with the beautiful fall sunshine. They weren't just testing their flight capabilities, though. The aircraft were being flown as part of a Green Flag Exercise — a joint military training program conducted, in this case, with soldiers from the U.S., Canada and Sweden that took place at Chennault International Airport.
      The 61st Airlift Squadron out of Little Rock Air Force Base, the 621st Contingency Response Wing out of Travis Air Force Base and the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, N.Y., teamed with soldiers from Canada and Sweden to take part in the training. Exercises for this specialist crew focus on combat airlift and airdrop as well as survival, evasion, resistance and escape scenarios.
      Major Lance Peak, an instructor pilot in the 61st Airlift Squadron, said prior to Thursday's training that the event was an effort to create more "cohesive interoperability" with the Army that will allow for joint live training between the Army and Air Force.
      "The Green Flag exercises are predominantly run out of the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in Fort Polk," Peak said. "What Little Rock does, the C-130's particularly, is we provide airdrop and airlift capability, and we all operate out of the big range in Fort Polk. We do landings into the dirt and airdrops for the troops. This time we are training with Canada and Sweden. That's what we do when we're down range, or in any type of environment and we're never working by ourselves, so it forces us to do this joint live training. You can't really do that in certain airspace."
      The airspace over Chennault was definitely welcoming for Peak and the soldiers partaking in the training mission.
      "Chennault obviously used to be an airforce base," Peak said. "We wanted something close, and Chennault is only about a 30-minute flight from Fort Polk. When I reached out, everyone here was super supportive and they have been bending over backwards to accommodate us while we've been here. I have nothing but good things to say about our time here at Chennault."
      "We're very mission-oriented," said Kevin Melton, Chennault's executive director, just before the C-130s took off for the day's exercises.
      "I'm a retired Air Force guy so I understand a lot of the Air Force missions and what it takes to do these kinds of things," Melton said. "We (Chennault) have lots of capabilities, ramp space and the longest runway in the state of Louisiana. Our piece is to make sure that we do everything possible to make sure their mission is met safely, first and foremost, and to make sure they we're able to effect a positive mission result."
      In addition to performing airdrops and airlifts for soldiers during wartime, the 61st has also assisted in civilian times of crises.
      "We were in New Orleans for Katrina in 2005," Peak said. "And we were in Houston for Hurricane Harvey just a couple of years ago."
      Thursday's Green Flag exercises were the first such exercises for the Air Force in this fiscal year; there are typically around four or five such exercises per year.
      Source: https://www.americanpress.com/news/local/chennault-hosts-green-flag-exercise/article_09c9decd-82ff-5520-9d75-0d20954998bf.html

    • The night skies of Beja, Portugal are full of stars, but they have company.
      Pilots deployed from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia flew night training missions in two C-130H3 Hercules aircraft during Exercise Real Thaw 2019 at Beja Air Base, Portugal, Oct. 2, 2019.
      RT19 is a Portuguese-led large joint and combined force exercise held annually where Dobbins provided aerial support.
      Part of the highly realistic training included daytime and nighttime operations. The mission for this night exercise was to transport two Portuguese M-11D Light Reconnaissance Vehicles from Beja Air Base, Portugal, to a dirt landing zone in a simulated combat zone.
      “Real Thaw gives us a better understanding of how our allies work and how we work with our allies, especially overcoming any language barriers,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Dyson, a 700th Airlift Squadron navigator and member of the RT19 mission planning cell. “This particular mission helped us find assault dirt strips at night and was great practice for all crew members involved.”
      As a navigator and mission planner, Dyson helped create a route for the mission that would be the most efficient while keeping to strict airspace boundaries and ensuring that the crew get to their destination at the appropriate time, while keeping clear of terrain and simulated enemy forces.
      “They’re flying at night because in some of the night flights we know that we can have more cover and concealment,” said Maj. Kerry Lyon, Deputy Chief of Wing Intelligence for the 94th Operation Support Squadron. “Some other pilots are not well versed in night flying and some of the ways that they find us is through visual observations. It gives us a way to mask ourselves in the night by flying under cover and taking advantage of light discipline.”
      Pilots have many hours of training that they have to complete annually, but night flying operations are one of the few chances they get to utilize their night vision goggles.
      “Flying at night is very different than flying during the day,” said Senior Airman Trevor Armentrout, a Loadmaster from the 700th Airlift Squadron. “A lot of things that you would be able to see during the day cannot be seen from the plane at night. This is why we use NVG’s, but even with them on it does not make it as clear as day all of the time. It all depends on the cultural lighting and natural lighting, like from the moon.”
      While lighting was one obstacle of the mission, the dirt landing zone was another. It accurately simulates what the pilots would come across in a deployed scenario and prepares them for short landings and short takeoffs.
      “The C-130 has the capabilities to land in fields that a lot of other cargo planes can’t,” said Armentrout. “This gives us the opportunity to get ground vehicles where they need to be by air. It is very beneficial for us to be able to transport vehicles.”
      After completing the night mission, the aircraft returned to base safely. With the mission complete and the exercise coming to a close, Dobbins Reserve citizen Airmen prepared to depart Portugal.
      “Opportunities like Real Thaw help us do things that are outside of our comfort level, meet new people who are also critical allies and be challenged in new ways to enhance our skills,” said Dyson. “These exercises are invaluable to any military member, nonetheless, a traditional reservist. We can take these challenges that we’ve overcome and bring this new outlook into our civilian careers as well.”
      Source: https://www.dobbins.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1998594/night-flyers-hercs-take-to-the-stars/

    • The Air Force’s C-130 program office is looking into what caused a torque tube and spring to recently fall off of a special operations plane in Japan, a service spokesman said Oct. 25.
      “It is not an issue we have seen before,” Air Force Life Cycle Management Center spokesman Brian Brackens said in an email. “Therefore, we will be sending the part to the lab for failure analysis. The findings of this analysis will help us to determine whether this was an isolated incident or if it will impact the C-130 fleet.”
      Airmen discovered the torque tube and spring missing from the MC-130J during an post-flight inspection Oct. 18, Kadena AB, Japan officials told Air Force Magazine. The assembly weighs 1.2 pounds and is 4.4 feet long by 1.25 inches in diameter, and is believed to have fallen off during take off or landing.
      The aircraft—assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Group—had been doing touch-and-go training at Kadena and Ie Shima training range. Ie Shima is a US Marine Corps-controlled airfield on a small island just off the coast of Okinawa. 
      The assembly was found later Oct. 18 at Ie Shima; the 353rd SOG is still investigating what caused the incident.
      When asked about the possible fleetwide impact the incident could have for all C-130s, an Air Mobility Command spokeswoman referred the question to AFLCMC. Earlier this year, AMC launched inspections of all operational C-130s that were at risk for unusual wing joint cracks after one of the Lockheed Martin-built planes prompted a broader investigation into about one-fourth of USAF C-130s.
      The Air Force also grounded 60 C-130Hs in February to address propeller problems.
      Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/October 2019/USAF-Investigating-Whether-Fallen-MC-130-Part-Signals-Broader-Issue.aspx

    • The Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MOD) confirmed that they are looking to procure the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft from the US government, and is also interested in having industrial cooperation to support the aircraft.

      This was among the topics discussed between the Indonesian MOD Secretary General Agus Stiadji and US acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Christopher Johnston in Jakarta on 22 October 2019.

      The Indonesian MOD, on behalf of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has shown interest in the C-130J Super Hercules to improve the service’s air transport capability and replacing legacy assets, mostly older C-130B Hercules aircraft that are in service since the 1960s.

      An initial procurement of at least five (5) aircraft is planned, although more units will be needed to completely replace legacy units. The TNI-AU currently operates a fleet of up to 20 aircraft, all mixed variants of the older C-130 Hercules forming its heavy tactical airlift capability.
      The TNI-AU has also showed interest to procure the larger Airbus A400M Grizzly, although nothing has been made since it was announced in 2017.
      Source: https://www.asiapacificdefensejournal.com/2019/10/indonesia-continues-negotiation-to.html

    • Meggitt will supply fuel bladders for the C-130 Super Hercules aircraft program under a $16.5 million contract from Lockheed Martin announced on 21 October.
      The company will provide long-life, lightweight fuel bladders. Designed using polyurethane technology, the bladders are highly flexible, durable and maintenance-free.
      Deliveries are scheduled to commence in 2020.
      Chris Allen, president of Meggitt’s Airframe Systems division, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Lockheed Martin on this crucial program. The Super Hercules is one of the hardest working aircraft in the world, refueling, transporting, firefighting and performing reconnaissance. We are proud that Meggitt innovation, through our durable fuel bladders, will support these daily activities.’
      Source: https://www.shephardmedia.com/news/mil-log/meggitt-fuel-bladders-c-130j/

    • Lockheed Martin delivered the 2,600th C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter to U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command on Oct. 21, 2019.
      This milestone Hercules is an MC-130J Commando II Special Operations airlifter assigned to 9th Special Operations Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.
      A U.S. Air Force crew ferried its new MC-130J to its home on Oct. 22, flying this Herk from Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., site, where all production C-130s have been built.
      The C-130J Super Hercules is the current C-130 production model and the global fleet recently surpassed 2 million flight hours. Twenty nations around the world have chosen the C-130J to support tactical airlift needs.
      Source: https://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2019/10/26/2600-c-130-hercules-airlifters-delivered-and-counting/

    • The failure of an engine air duct forced the crash landing of a C-130 at the Santa Barbara Airport in August, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

      The airport’s main runway was shut down for 19 hours after the aircraft, owned by International Air Response, made its emergency landing on Aug. 25.

      The five people on board escaped injury, but the plane caught fire and was heavily damaged.

      The C-130, an aerial oil-spill dispersant plane, was traveling from Malaysia to its home base at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Arizona at the time of the crash. It had made refueling stops in Hilo, Hawaii, and Santa Maria.

      Shortly after departing the Santa Maria Airport at about 10:20 p.m., the aircraft experienced multiple system failures, according to the NTSB report released last week.

      “The flight crew heard a loud popping noise, and the passengers heard a loud bang,” the report states. “Simultaneously, the torque gauges provided unusual and fluctuating readings. A crew member in the cargo compartment announced misting hydraulic fluid mixed with smoke.”

      Among critical systems affected by the failure of the “bleed air duct” — used to siphon off hot air from the engines for other uses — were the C-130’s hydraulic system, which helps control key components such as the landing gear and flaps.

      “A crew member advised that the landing gear should be lowered before there was a total utility system failure,” the report states.

      The crew began lowering the landing gear, but the right gear was unable to fully extend.

      Realizing the seriousness of the problem, the pilot requested permission to make an emergency landing. The Santa Barbara Airport was chosen because the Santa Maria Airport was fogged in, and would have required an instrument landing, according to the report.

      The plane had to fly over the Santa Ynez Mountains before making its approach to Santa Barbara.

      “Once they had cleared the terrain and had the airport in sight, they began their descent,” the report states. “(The pilot) advised SBA tower that he would make S-turns to lose altitude as they had no flaps.

      “As a result, their approach speed would be fast, and they would likely use the full length of the runway.”

      Once the aircraft touched down, the pilot applied reverse thrust to slow it down, the report states. The right wing dipped down because the landing gear had not fully extended, and the pilot struggled to keep the plane on the runway.

      “The airplane continued to the right and departed the right side of the runway,” the report states. “The captain intentionally ground looped the airplane as it was continuing toward SBA’s main terminal and parked airplanes.

      “The airplane came to a stop about 270-degrees right of the runway heading.”

      Two Federal Aviation Administration inspectors inspected the airplane and determined that the bleed air duct on one of the four engines had failed, which blew hot air onto the surrounding electrical wires and hydraulic lines, damaging them.

      The failed parts were sent to the NTSB metallurgical laboratory in Washington, D.C., for further examination.

      The investigation is ongoing, and a final report is not expected for several months.

      The damaged aircraft remains parked near a hanger on the north side of the airport. It’s unknown if it will be repaired.

      Source: https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article236506108.html


    • New Delhi: The Indian Air Force has found that one of the chief reasons why a brand new C-130 J Super Hercules aircraft crashed in 2014 and killed five crew members, including the pilots, was “inadequate training”, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament Wednesday.
      What’s shocking about this finding is that a simulator for this aircraft had been available since 2012, but was used for training only in 2016 because the IAF and manufacturer Lockheed Martin could not finalise a usage contract.
      Less than 10 minutes after the aircraft took off from Agra on 28 March 2014, it crashed 115 km west of Gwalior while on a routine training mission.
      Two wing commanders, two squadron leaders and another crew member were killed in the crash.
      The C-130J aircraft
      The Indian Air Force had first bought six C-130 J aircraft, meant for special operations, through the Foreign Military Sales (government-to-government) route in 2008 for $962.45 million.
      The IAF later went in for procurement of six additional aircraft through the same route.
      The aircraft is meant for special mission roles, and is fitted with an infrared detection set, enabling precision low-level flying.
      The aircraft can land on unpaved surfaces and requires a very short take-off and landing space. It has proved to be a huge asset for the Indian military.
      Simulator not used for 3.5 years
      The CAG noted that one C-130J-30 aircraft procured under initial contract met with a “CAT-I fatal flying accident” in March 2014.
      “Investigation concluded inadequate experience and training of the crew as one of reasons for the aircraft and recommended operationalization of Simulator for C-130 J30 at the earliest as one of the remedial measure (sic),” the report stated.
      The audit observed that the simulator was provided by the vendor, Lockheed Martin, “against contract of January 2009, on a user rate payment basis”.
      It noted that despite the installation of the simulator in December 2012, training could not be imparted for more than three-and-a-half years to pilots (December 2012 to November 2016) due to non-finalisation of usage contract.
      “The simulator was installed but could not be put to use due to non-finalisation of usage rate contract by IAF. Usage rate contract was signed (August 2016) and training on simulator actually commenced in November 2016,” the report said.
      The defence ministry accepted the delay in commissioning of training simulator, though it stated that inadequate training was not the primary reason for the accident.
      “However, (the) audit noted that the IAF investigation report had pointed out inadequate training as one of the reasons for the accident,” the report stated.
      View Original Article: https://theprint.in/defence/cag-report-blames-inadequate-training-for-2014-super-hercules-crash-that-killed-5/192940/

    • Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has begun work on the centre-wing box (CWB) replacement effort for 14 UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Lockheed Martin C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft, which should be complete in 2027.
      The Ministry of Defence (MoD) told Jane's on 15 February that having awarded Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group the CWB contract in July 2017, a further "embodiment" contract to supply the CWB kits was awarded in 2018, paving the way for the commencement of work on the 14 aircraft.
      The RAF fields both the 'short-bodied' C-130J (designated C5 in RAF service) and 'long-bodied' C-130J-30 (C4) variants of the Hercules. As stated in the country's 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the RAF at that time planned to divest its 10 C-130Js while retaining its 14 C-130J-30s.
      However, in June 2018 Jane's reported that one of these C-130J-30s was abandoned in Iraq following heavy landing, leaving just 13 in the inventory. On 9 August 2018 an MoD spokesperson told Jane's that it is still the intention to field 14 Hercules, and while this would necessitate the retention of one C-130J the spokesperson noted that the exact composition of the fleet has yet to be determined.
      Despite the MoD declining to specify the planned composition of its Hercules fleet, a US Air Force solicitation for a CWB replacement effort for one C-130J and 13 C-130J-30 aircraft released at the same time as the MoD's comments to Jane's has been identified as being for the UK.
      View Original Article: https://www.janes.com/article/86426/uk-hercules-centre-wing-box-replacement-effort-gets-under-way-for-completion-in-2027

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