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      The U.S Navy Blue Angels teamed up with Toys for Tots Foundation to make spirits a little brighter in Southwest Louisiana.
      The brand new C-130 aircraft landed at Lake Charles Regional Airport Tuesday morning with more than 5,000 pounds of toys and books for local children. Santa was also on hand for the delivery!
      “This is the first time we’ve been able to partner with Blue Angels in 3 years...They just got this C-130 less than a year ago,” said Toys for Tots Operations VP David Cooper.
      Santa ditched the sleigh for a cargo full of Christmas spirit...
      Toys for Tots has always made sure every kid has a Christmas. This year, in the wake of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, they received a little extra help.
      “We really just wanted to support the local communities around us. Especially here in Lake Charles,” said Capt. William Huckeba, U.S Marine Corps/Blue Angels.
      Robert Henry brought his grandson to see the aircraft, which resulted in him getting his very own toy from Santa.
      “The one toy, when he saw the toilet. He loves the games where anything sprays water and when he saw that...Santa gave it to him,
      Making spirits just a tad bit brighter this holiday season.
      Captain William Huckeba with the Blue Angels Navy Team said the toy giveaway is an annual tradition and bringing it to Lake Charles this year was necessary given all the challenges over the last few months.
      “Over 5 thousand pounds of toys...that should be enough to impact a large amount of the community here in Lake Charles,” Huckeba said. ‘We feel very fortunate to provide a ride for those toys and we know those toys will go to all the kids out there that really need a special Christmas.”
      Henry said the gesture means a lot for families struggling to provide a Christma for their little ones in the wake of the storms.
      “This is my grandson. He lives with us, they lost their home in Laura. A lot of money was spent and a lot of people don’t have the money to have a Christmas. This will help out a lot.”
      This was the first time Toys for Tots and Blue Angels teamed up to help the Lake Area. The C-130 traveled from Pensacola, Florida.
      The toys were loaded onto trucks and will be distributed at events across the 5-parish area leading up to Christmas.
      View original article and video here: Blue Angels & Toys for Tots make toy drop in SWLA (kplctv.com)

    • Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has completed modernization of seven aircraft under the C-130 E/B Avionics Modernization (Erciyes) Program.
      “In the Erciyes C-130 modernization project, which includes a total of 19 aircraft, we have completed the modernization works of 7 aircraft, which have been integrated with the latest technologies,” TAI announced on December 8.
      The 56-month project signed in 2007 covers avionics modernization of all of Turkish Air Force (TuAF) C-130 planes. The first prototype aircraft was delivered to the service in 2014. Turkish content in both hardware and software has been increased to reduce long term costs.
       
      Upgrade of a total of 23 systems and 117 components continue to be carried out with the central control computer or the “brain” of C-130 aircraft.
      TAI re-designed GPS, indicator, anti-collision system, air radar, advanced military and civilian navigation systems, night-time invisible lighting for military missions, sound recording black box carries out the modernization of critical parts such as communication systems, advanced automatic flight systems (military and civilian), ability to operate in the military network, digital floating map and ground mission planning systems.
      It will facilitate the mission capabilities of C130 aircraft, reduces the pilot's workload, as well as ensuring safe flight with automatic route tracking from take-off to landing. With the modernization, the plane will have increased situational awareness and improved ability to land in airports precisely and safely.
      View original article: Turkey Modernizes Seven C-130 Planes (defenseworld.net)

    • Social distancing, mask wearing, contact tracing, testing and quarantines have enabled the U.S. military’s airlift hub in Tokyo to continue its mission across the Indo-Pacific region despite the global pandemic, the 374th Airlift Wing commander said Friday.
      “We’ve been executing every mission we’ve been tasked to do, not without regard for COVID, but despite COVID,” Col. Andrew Campbell told Stars and Stripes in an interview. COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
      The airlifters, stationed at Yokota in western Tokyo, fly 14 C-130J Super Hercules transport planes in support of the Indo-Pacific Command. The wing also operates UH-1N helicopters and C-12J transports.
      Their missions include tactical airdrop, aeromedical evacuation, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and transporting distinguished visitors.
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      “We’ve continued to move safely and with such care that we haven’t had significant COVID transmission caused by the missions that we’ve been executing,” Campbell said.
      Yokota, with a community of just under 12,000 airmen, civilian workers and family members, has reported at least 86 coronavirus cases since May, not counting an undisclosed number of Navy personnel who sequestered on base before shipping out with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.
      In November, a small outbreak fueled by more than 30 instances of spreading by close contact contributed to a monthly total of 62 people infected with the virus, the most the base has reported in any month during the pandemic.

      Three C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, fly near Mount Fuji, May 11, 2020.
      YASUO OSAKABE/U.S. AIR FORCE
      Campbell said oft-repeated health protection measures such as social distancing, contact tracing, masks for those in close contact, restriction of movement for people coming into Japan and testing have helped the Air Force contain the virus.
      “The public health protection measures we have in place have been very effective in enabling us to sustain our mission,” he said. “People have done a really good job of complying with the protective measures out of a sense of community.”
      The wing doesn’t have data on the number of Yokota personnel who have been ordered abroad this year, although Campbell said his airmen are constantly going on missions.
      “We are a mobility wing,” he said. “We constantly have people executing the mobility mission.”
      This year Yokota airmen have, for example, flown to Alaska to train, ferried soldiers to Palau and conducted refueling operations on Guam and Okinawa.
      “There is no debate that COVID has impacted every aspect of everything we do but the successes we have had despite this challenge are remarkable,” he said.
      The U.S. military’s mobility forces operate continuously and globally even during a pandemic, Campbell said.
      article continues below 
      “We have continued to execute our mission despite COVID,” he said. “It’s a positive reflection on our resilience and perseverance.”
      Campbell said there have been tactical highlights, such as a Nov. 24 mission that involved one of the wing’s C-130Js doing a hot-pit refuel of a pair of F-22 Raptor stealth fighters at Koror Palau International Airport.
      The aircraft had an aerial bulk fuel delivery system designed to transport fuel rapidly to spots close to or behind enemy lines. One of the wing’s aircraft refueled Raptors the same way at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in September, according to an Air Force news release Nov. 24.
      “We did a similar operation between a C-130J and an F-15 on Okinawa recently,” Campbell said.
      Over the summer, Yokota personnel deployed to the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Ahead of the mission, airmen rehabilitated a 1970s-era tactical air navigation system using parts bought at Joyful Honda, a local hardware store. They used the gear to guide aircraft transiting between Alaska and Japan, he said.
      It’s unclear where Yokota airmen might travel on missions next year, Campbell said.
      People will be watching how the global community moves over the next couple of months, “ … hopefully out from this dark cloud of COVID,” he said. “Everyone is hopeful the vaccine will enable us to return to full normality.”
      View original article here: Simple health precautions help keep Tokyo-based airlifters flying during the pandemic - Pacific - Stripes

    • Horry County officials and family members of the thirteen airmen that passed away in the 1972 military air crash in the Bayboro area gathered Saturday to honor the victims on the 48th anniversary of the crash.
      "Historic preservation is what I like to do," said Jamie Thompkins, with Horry County Historical Preservation Society, who helped plan the event. "I had no idea this was going to be an emotional rollercoaster for me, but it has been ... What I found was a story that was tucked away in our county's history and when I opened the door, so to speak, it came rushing out."
      On December 5, 1972, thirteen men died when an F-102 interceptor based out of McEntire Air National Guard base near Columbia collided in mid-air with a C-130 transport plane out of what is now Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina. The aircraft crashed to the ground near the Bayboro area off Joyner Swamp Road.
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      “The accident occurred on a night combat profile mission, referred to as a CORONET SIERRA mission, designed to test the various options and capabilities of the … aircraft,” an Air Force incident report read, noting it was a training mission.
      An historical roadside marker, as well as a headstone with all thirteen names was placed in the field next to the Joyner Swamp Fire Station just down the road from the crash site near Tyler Road. 
      Horry County Councilman Al Allen, one of the driving forces behind the planning of the memorial more than a year in the making, said that the markers are on county property and assured the family that the memorials will always be taken care of properly. 
      "I listened to the personal story of each airman, and each one of them has a special memory, and each conversation I ended up in tears. This only cemented my resolve to see this project to a positive outcome. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to bring everyone together today for this ceremony," Thompkins said. "I am humbled to share in such precious memories."
      Many local, state, and military officials attended, including members of the Horry County Council, the Honorable Thomas Keegan (on behalf of Congressman Tom Rice), and Col. Joseph Vanoni with the U.S. Air Force out of Pope Army Airfield in North Carolina. 
      The Horry County Fire Rescue Honor Guard and the Horry County Police Honor Guard were in attendance as well as the Coastal Carolina Shields, Pipes and Drums. 
      Vanoni told the crowd he was proud to be in attendance "to honor them as we should have 48 years ago."
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      Family members of the servicemen came from as far away as California and Illinois for the memorial, saying the event was some closure their families needed. 
      "It was wonderful," said Kathy Fischer, sister of then 23-year-old Doug Thierer, who was on board the C-130 that crashed. 
      Ronald Tyler and his children Greg Tyler and Phyllis Richardson, who all lived just by the site of the crash, told their story of that night, when Ronald Tyler ran out of his house with his children. After the midair collision, the remainder of the C-130 seemed to be headed straight for their home. 
      Tyler and Richardson both told the families that while they were scared that night, they understand their experience was nothing compared to the family members that lost loved ones. 
      "They want you to know they shared in your grief," Thompkins told the family during the memorial. 
      Richardson told the crowd she had been blessed to have been able to meet and befriend the Thierer family.
      “Phyllis, she was my age at the time,” Fischer said. “I never thought about that. It gave me a different empathy. I never thought about what was going on [down] on the ground because we were so totally devastated.”
      Read more about the Tyler's experience that night, as well as comments from some airmen family members here.
      "I can't think but one thought and that is that freedom is not free. Some folks have paid a hefty toll," Thompkins said. "The absolute bravery of people I don't even know who are willing to put their lives on the line every day is pretty overwhelming. They should be respected by all, because this is not a debt we can repay. We can however come together as a community to tell our story to see that these men who perished here will never be forgotten, and that this spot will be marked forever for all those to see that something significant happened here." 
      View original article here: Military plane crash victims memorialized after 48 years | News | myhorrynews.com

    • The US has approved the sale of USD 90 million worth of military hardware and services in support of its fleet of C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft.
      This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and improve the security of a “Major Defense Partner”, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) of the Department of Defense said on Thursday.
      In a major sales notification to Congress, DSCA said that India continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
      Among the requests made by India include aircraft consumables spares and repair/return parts; Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD) fire extinguisher cartridges; flare cartridges; Advanced Radar Warning Receiver shipset; 10 Lightweight Night Vision Binocular; 10 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggle; GPS; Electronic Warfare; instruments and lab equipment support. The estimated total amount is USD 90 million.
      The Pentagon said that the proposed sale ensures the previously procured aircraft operates effectively to serve the needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Army and the Navy transport requirements, local and international humanitarian assistance, and regional disaster relief.
      This sale of spares and services will enable the IAF to sustain a mission-ready status with respect to the C-130J transport. India will have no difficulty absorbing this additional sustainment support, it said.
      According to the Pentagon, the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractor will be Lockheed-Martin Company, Marietta, Georgia.
      In a major move in 2016, the US had designated India a "Major Defence Partner" intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
      View Original article here:  US approves sale of USD 90 mn worth of military equipment and services to India (outlookindia.com)

    • A C-130J Super Hercules conducted a hot-pit refuel of a pair of F-22 Raptors Nov. 24 at Koror Palau International Airport using an Aerial Bulk Fuel Delivery System.
      This mission was one of a series of operations associated with Westpac, a dynamic force employment of the 94th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility.
      According to the Air Expeditionary Force Fuels Management Pocket Guide, ABFDS is an aerial, fuels-delivery system that enables aircraft to transport fuel rapidly to locations close to or behind enemy lines. This system is normally installed on C-130s but can be used on C-5 Galaxies and C-17 Globemaster IIIs.
      “Hot-pit refueling operations using ABFDS are relatively new,” said Chief Master Sgt. Steve McClure, Pacific Air Forces command fuels functional manager. “The primary design of the ABFDS system is to refuel or to take bulk fuel to bladders in a contingency location. It has the capability to refuel aircraft and always has, but we’ve stepped that up with (agile combat employment).”
      According to McClure, the 374th Airlift Wing developed the checklist to use ABFDS to refuel other aircraft, and this is the second time C-130s from the 36th Airlift Squadron, 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan, have hot-pit refueled F-22 Raptors using ABFDS. The first time was during exercise Valiant Shield 20, a biennial, U.S.-only, joint field training exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in September.
      “They’ve been phenomenal and worked a lot on getting us to where we’re at,” he said.
      ABFDS supports PACAF’s ACE concept, which envisions the use of agile operations to generate resilient airpower in a contested environment. The system consists of two, 3,000-gallon aerial bladder tanks, two pumping modules, a meter and hoses. It is also capable of delivering 600 gallons per minute with one pump or 1,200 gallons per minute with both pumps.
      Should pilots find themselves running out of fuel and they cannot land at the airfield they departed from because it’s under attack or has battle damage, the pilots can divert to a different location knowing they can get refueled.
      “If that location doesn’t have fuel support, we can generate a mission to fly in and off load fuel to the aircraft,” McClure said.
      Being able to get fuel to places in the USINDOPACOM theater of operations is important due to its size. The command’s area of responsibility is more than 100 million square miles, or roughly 52% of the Earth’s surface, stretching from the west coast of the United States, the west coast of India, and from the Arctic to the Antarctic, making this an important capability.
      “There are more airfields than there is capability at those airfields,” McClure said. “You never know when we’re going to land, and you never know when we’re going to need support. It offers us the opportunity to put fuel at a location in a relatively short amount of time as opposed to moving it via maritime.
      “We have the capability to load fuel on an aircraft. Take that aircraft and land somewhere, refuel and get back out of there. Once all aircraft are gone, it’s like we’ve never been there.”
      ABFDS has been used in other USINDOPACOM exercises and used to rotate U-2 Dragon Ladies in and out of South Korea. The system was also loaded onto Royal Australian Air Force C-17s and used to refuel a C-130 during Arctic Ace 2018.
      The 94th EFS is deployed to Andersen AFB from the 1st Fighter Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.
      View original article here: C-130J refuels F-22s using Aerial Bulk Fuel Delivery System > Edwards Air Force Base > News (af.mil)

    • Here’s a blend of two video B-Roll segments from the California Air National Guard showing the preparation of he 146th Airlift Wing’s C-130s for use as firefighters, and then actual fire duty from the cockpit in July 2020. Look closely and you will see the lead plane put out a stream of smoke where the C-130 is supposed to drop. And listen to the sounds of the drop from the cockpit.
       
       
      Video Credit: Fred Johnsen of AIRAILIMAGES
       

    • Several persons have reportedly been injured after a plane accident in Maroua, Cameroon's Far North region. Sources say the military plane missed the tarmac of the airport, crashing into a nearby plain. It is suspected that heavy rains might have contributed to the incident.
       
      View original post: https://twitter.com/MimiMefoInfo/status/1289998178880638977?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1289998178880638977%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Faviation-safety.net%2Fwikibase%2F239000
      Additional info can be found here: https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/239000

    • By Lt. Col. Paul Hendrickson , Materiel Leader, Agile Combat Support Directorate, CBRN Defense Systems / Published June 05, 2020
      JOINT BASE CHARLESTON (JBC), S.C.  – One month since the successful flight demonstration of the Negatively Pressurized Conex (NPC) proof-of-concept, a team of experts from across the country continue to work tirelessly to finalize the design and ensure the safety and effectiveness of both the NPC and NPC Lite (NPCL) next phase builds. 
      The first NPCL was delivered to Joint Base Charleston on June 1 for operational test and the NPC will arrive this weekend.  Following successful testing they are projected to immediately begin operations.
      The NPC is a rapid prototype project developed in response to the United States Transportation Command’s (USTRANSCOM) Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) requirement issued on March 28, 2020 for high capacity immediate transport of COVID-19 infected personnel. 
      Under the direction of the Air Force Program Executive Office (PEO) for Agile Combat Support (ACS), a team led by the Air Force Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense Systems Branch and the Joint PEO CBRN Defense drafted the requirements, awarded an other transactional authority (OTA) agreement to the contractor team comprised of UTS Systems, Highland Engineering Inc, and Delta Flight Products and delivered the proof-of-concept NPC in less than 21 days. 
      Following a series of tests and the successful demonstration flight of the NPC on April 30, and with the recommendation of PEO ACS, the Commander of Air Mobility Command (AMC) made the decision to proceed with the procurement of the NPC for Inter-Theater Airlift on the C-17 and C-5 aircraft; and the NPCL variant for Intra-Theater Airlift on C-130, C-17 and C-5.
      Beginning with a proof-of-concept prototype and ending with a fieldable system that is safe and meets the JUON’s requirements presented a major challenge. 
      Teams from Air Mobility Command and the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) Engineering and Technical Management/Services Directorate, C-17 System Program Office (SPO), C-5 SPO, C-130 SPOs, and Human Systems Division worked directly with the NPC/NPCL program team and contractor to rapidly iterate on the systems’ designs, to compress the normally months to years interwoven engineering, medical, safety, testing, financial, scheduling, and air worthiness processes into less than 30 days.
      Working these separate streams at the same time was not for the faint of heart.
      “Helping a non-standard defense contractor understand the stringent requirements for air worthiness required an all-hands on deck and an outside of the box teaming strategy,” said Robert David, Chief Engineer for the C-17 SPO.  “Having our engineers and subject matter experts work directly within the finalized design of the NPC/NPCL allowed for concurrent development, production and certification.”
      “We worked with the contractors to develop safer seating systems for patients and tested them here at the 711th Human Performance Wing’s vertical and horizontal crash test facilities,” said Dr. Casey Pirnstill, a research Biomedical Engineer at Air Force Research Laboratory.   “We even had a local church donate personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer so the guys could work in proximity to build the test fixtures.”
      This rapid and outside of the box thinking for design was driven by AMC’s continued demand for the NPC and NPCL to facilitate COVID-19 aeromedical evacuation operations around the globe.  While utilizing the lower capacity Transport Isolation System (TIS) and other methods, USTRANSCOM has already transported more than 46 patients and expects the demand to continue to ramp up.
      “We had to rapidly understand the inherent limitations we would experience in this rapid development, and help buy down risks to make the system both airworthy as well as safe for operations,” said Peter Christiansen the Chief Engineer for the C-130 in AFLCMC/WLN. “We sent four members of the C-130 team to Howell, Michigan to work directly with the NPCL build contractor Highland Engineering to ensure the delivered NPCL would meet all safety requirements.  Seeing the team come together and work this rapid development was a huge testament to teamwork and made it all possible.”
      “One of the biggest hurdles to this process was designing and validating the overall structural integrity of the system through the development of Finite Element Models (FEM) and conducting the associated analysis on these,” added Sean Mortara, a structural analysis technical expert with AFLCMC/EN-EZ.  “Working directly with both NPC and NPCL contractors to develop and modify these designs and models during production was definitely outside of the box, but made it possible to deliver these systems in 30 days.” 
      “Our team had to pull together the entire package of risks and requirements for a military flight release, showing that the risks were addressed and this system was ready and safe to fly on military aircraft,” added Rebekah Less a member of the Human System Divisions Sustainment Branch.  “On top of that, we had to develop a sustainment, training, and maintenance package, to ensure the system when it enters operations at the end of June will be ready for the operators to execute missions with confidence.”
      The NPC is scheduled for 10 days of ground tests followed by an Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE) C-17 flight.  The NPCL is scheduled for 21 days of ground tests on three different C-130 to include its OUE on a C-130J mid-June.   Follow on evaluations for the C-17 and C-5 aircraft will follow for the other configurations at a future date.
      With the conclusion of these OUEs, the systems will enter service and be available to transport COVID-19 patients around the globe for USTRANSCOM.  Subsequent rapid delivery of additional NPC and NPCL units will begin at the end of June, and 30 of each system are expected to be produced. 
      Testing will be conducted by a joint team comprised of members of the Air Force CBRN Branch, 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Centers (AFOTEC) Det 2, 417th Flight Test Squadron, aircraft SPOs, AFRL, AMC/SG, AMC/A3V, Army Combat Capability Development Directorate, Army Public Health Center and additional team members.
      “This was not how I expected to spend the month of May, but working hand in hand with the contractor team of UTS, HEI and DFP in place at their location in Howell, MI has been a sprint marathon,” said Matt Kilmer from the C-130 Program Office. “But the overwhelming commitment from both the government and contractor teams has been amazing to watch.  Because these teams came together and worked diligently, we will be able to field this critical capability to the warfighter in an amazing short period of time.”
      “Providing an unrivaled mobility capability for the nation and our allies is the reason we come to work every day,” commented Col. Scott Ekstrom, Senior Materiel Leader for the C-17 Program Office. “The demand for urgent solutions to current problems is constant.  Supporting an effort like the NPC/NPCL development showcased our teams working together to rapidly effect the safety and security of our Airmen. I couldn’t be prouder of the team.”
       

    • A U.S. military plane crashed into an Iraqi military base north of the capital on Monday without causing fatalities, the U.S.-led coalition said.
      Separately, a rocket landed on the periphery of Baghdad airport, the Iraqi military said, without providing further details. There were no reported casualties or damage.
      The crash of the C-130 in Iraq’s Camp Taji injured four servicemen and was deemed an accident, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition Myles Caggins told the Associated Press.
      Caggins said the plane had overshot the runway and crashed into a wall, resulting in damage to the aircraft and a small fire.
      View original article at stripes.com

    • A rainy June 2, 2020, was a historic day for the 39th Rescue Squadron as aircrew members flew the first fully operational HC-130J Combat King II training mission.
       
      This first operational flight marks an important milestone for the 39th RQS because the HC-130J replaced the HC-130 P/N as the only Air Force dedicated fixed-wing personnel recovery platform. The new aircraft came directly off the production line from Lockheed Martin and went straight to the flight line earlier just two months ago.   
       
      “The Combat King II, flies faster, higher and further. It’s capabilities, far exceeds that of its predecessor” said Col. Ian, the 920th RQW vice commander. “This is not your grandfathers C-130. This is the beginning of exciting new era for our wing.”
       
      Despite the rain outside, the atmosphere inside the briefing room was that of excitement and anticipation. The discussion centered on a crawl, walk, run mentality for the introduction of the new aircraft. The first flight is the start of the crawl phase where pilots, combat systems officers (CSO) and loadmasters become comfortable in this new, state-of-the-art, aircraft.
       
      The crew consisted of Lt. Col. Matt and Lt. Col Bobby, both 39th RQS instructor pilots, Lt. Col. Rich, CSO, as well as loadmasters Senior Master Sgt. Bob, “BK”, and Master Sgt. Dean.
      “Since I began training a year ago, I have been waiting for this moment,” said Master Sgt. Dean.  “The HC-130J is amazing in every aspect. I can’t wait to see how it adds to our mission, given its capabilities.” 
       
      The HC-130J has improved technology, to include a full glass cockpit, with digital heads up displays, improved navigation, threat detection, and new capabilities, such as satellite and data-burst communications and the ability to receive inflight refueling to travel longer distances
       
      In order to become qualified to operate in the HC-130J, the aircrew members returned to training in Little Rock, Arkansas and Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque New Mexico. Even though the majority of the aircrew were highly experienced and skilled in the HC-130 P/N platform, the formal school training took an average of seven months to complete; but that was just the beginning. Due to the unique mission of the 920th RQW, additional hours in the J model are required for full proficiency.  
       
      The 39th RQS uses the HC-130 in its vital mission of personal recovery in combat and peacetime situations, including helicopter air-to-air refueling, airdrop, humanitarian aid and disaster relief. {ADD A SENTENCE OR TWO ABOUT WHY WE USE IT, REFUELING CAPABILITIES, EXTENDS OUR REACH, ETC}
       
      The mission included multiple take off and landings at various airfields, weather, navigation and systems training. The crew debriefed the lessons learned of the first flight and discussed the way forward for the squadron and crew members as the new HC-130J becomes thoroughly integrated into the 39th RQS.
       
      “These five rocked it and I was incredibly proud to have been in the seat for the 39th’s first sortie,” said Lt. Col. Steve, 39th RQS commander.
       
      Based at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, the 920th Rescue Wing is the only Air Force Reserve Command combat-search-and-rescue wing. The wing trains and equips over 2,000 Airmen who carry out its mission, to search for, locate and recover U.S. Armed Forces personnel during military operations.

    • New Zealand's military said Friday it will buy five Super Hercules transport planes from Lockheed Martin for $1 billion.
      The planes will replace the military's existing fleet of Hercules, all of which are more than 50 years old and have been involved in a series of embarrassing breakdowns over recent years.
      Defense Minister Ron Mark said the new planes will be used for operations in New Zealand, the South Pacific and Antarctica.
      “Generations of New Zealanders have grown up and grown old with the Hercules, and they know these aircraft are an essential first line of response," Mark said in a statement.
      Three of the nation's current C-130 Hercules planes date back to 1965 and the other two to 1969. They have been upgraded over the years, but frequent breakdowns have hampered some high-profile missions. At one point last year, the entire fleet was temporarily grounded.
      New Zealand will take delivery of the first of the new C-130J-30 aircraft in 2024 with the full fleet operating by 2025. The price tag of 1.5 billion New Zealand dollars ($1 billion) includes a flight simulator and supporting infrastructure.
      View original article at thehour.com

    • Lockheed Martin provided the final of 86 C-130 Super Hercules aircraft that were part of a Multi-Year 2 contract announced in December 2015 when it delivered a KC-130J tanker-transport platform to a US Marine Corps (USMC) reserve squadron on 28 May.
      The KC-130J is assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR-452), the Marine Forces Reserve squadron at Stewart Air National Guard Base in New York. KC-130s are operated in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander by providing tactical in-flight refuelling for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and tiltrotor aircraft; aviation-delivered ground refuelling of aircraft or tactical vehicles; and air assault transport or air-landed or aerial delivered (parachute) personnel and equipment. The aircraft also provides pathfinder support, battlefield illumination, tactical aeromedical evacuation, and tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel support.
      Lockheed Martin spokesperson Stephanie Stinn said on 2 June that this Multi-Year 2 contract also delivered C-130J-30s, MC-130Js, and HC-130Js to the US Air Force (USAF), nine KC-130Js to the USMC, and HC-130Js to the US Coast Guard (USCG).
      Lockheed Martin, in total, delivered 86 C-130Js through the Multi-Year 2 contract. Stinn said the original contract was for 78 aircraft with an optional five to acquire. In addition to the original 78, 3-of-6 options were exercised, plus five more aircraft were added, for a total of 86 aircraft procured through Multi-Year 2.
      View original article at janes.com

    • Following on from the Night Vision System upgrade modification of the Flight Management System in 2017, Marshall ADG will now design and update the Electronic Flight Instrument System displays, Standby Instrument and Flight Management System across the fleet.
      “We’re thrilled to be awarded the contract to do this avionics modification work, which will extend the current capabilities of the aircraft,” said Duncan Eldridge, Managing Director of Marshall ADG’s Military Aerospace business.
      “The Austrian Air Force is an important customer and we know that their C -130 fleet is used extensively to perform supply tasks in support of their troops around the globe, as well as being on standby for other critical missions. Marshall ADG has a strong pedigree for carrying out modifications on C-130 aircraft and we are pleased that the Austrian Air Force has shown continued trust in our comprehensive engineering capabilities.“
      Marshall ADG will begin the design phase of this project through the middle of this year and complete the embodiment of the modification on the fleet as the aircraft are inducted into Marshall’s Cambridge facility for scheduled maintenance.
      Head of Air Material Staff Austrian Air Force, Brig Gen Peter Wessely, said: “The AAF has had 18 years of good relationship with Marshall ADG. With their experience and their competence, they have carried out many modifications and maintenance to our full satisfaction.
      “This smart modification designed by Marshall will solve our known problem with the Heading Indication on our Primary Flight Instruments without replacing our highly integrated Inertial Navigation Units.
      “They also found a smart solution to solve current obsolescence problems in our navigation installation. The software upgrade to our integrated Secondary Flight Display iSFD will improve the reliability of our VSI system and subsequently the availability of the aircraft.”
      The Austrian Air Force purchased the three transport aircraft from the UK Ministry of Defense in 2003 when the Royal Air Force started the transition of their fleet to C-130Js. Marshall has been supporting these aircraft ever since, providing depth maintenance, engineering and logistics support.
      View original article at cambridgenetwork.co.uk

    • The Air Force is asking for proposals to conduct electronic evaluations of one of its key assets, the C-130 weapon system family.
      In a notice posted June 2, the service stated it is conducting a market survey to see which companies might be able to study, analyze, develop or test advanced technology, including microelectronics, software and algorithm solutions to resolve obsolescence issues. It addition, the service would want to add capabilities and improve performance, reliability, maintainability and availability of EC-130J Commando Solos, EC-130J Super Js and AC-130Js.
      Moreover, the post notes that this requirement’s main purpose is to perform analysis and investigate the vulnerability of these platforms.
      The Commando Solo is broadly an information operations platform conducting military information support operations — formerly known as psychological operations — and civil affairs broadcasts. The AC-130J conducts close-air support and armed reconnaissance.
      Documents associated with the post state this effort is a follow-on of the current effort performed by Raytheon. This effort has existed in one instantiation or another since 2016, and used two contract vehicles as well as two different contractors.
      The project will take a minimum of two years. The tasks contractors must conduct include tabletop and red team assessments on the highest impact items identified on the EC-130J; an analysis report with mitigation strategies and analysis; and investigations on modifications concerning electronic vulnerabilities on the Commando Solo and Super J.
      View original article at c4isrnet.com

    • The U.S. Air Force is looking at arming otherwise unarmed cargo planes, pressing them into service as makeshift bombers. The service believes future wars with adversaries like Russia or China will require plenty of aerial firepower and transport planes, loaded with pallets of cruise missiles, could provide an inexpensive solution.
      According to Defense News, the Air Force thinks aircraft such as the C-130J Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III could become part-time missile trucks.
      The unarmed aircraft typically shuttle troops and equipment, but in a pinch, would be equipped with “smart pallets” carrying long-range cruise missiles and other munitions.

      The pallets would be capable of feeding position, navigation, and targeting data to their onboard missiles. Once dropped from the rear of the aircraft, the pallets would quickly release their missile cargoes, sending them downrange to their targets. The larger the aircraft, the more missiles it could carry.
      The missile truck concept pairs aircraft with large cargo boxes, of which the U.S. military has hundreds, with advanced missiles like the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM). The latest version of JASSM, JASSM-XR, will have a range of 1,000 nautical miles—far enough for slow, lumbering, non-stealthy transports like the C-17 to launch dozens of missiles at enemy targets while staying out of missile and interceptor range.
      Once a mission is over, the aircraft could be loaded with more smart pallets or go back to its traditional cargo carrier role.
      The Air Force has been converting cargo planes into armed warbirds since the Vietnam War, when it added banks of Gatling guns to C-47 and C-130 transports. These gunships proved effective in providing close air support firepower and hunting Viet Cong forces traveling along the Ho Chi Minh trail.
      Most armed transport conversions are permanent, with an unarmed transport aircraft transformed into a heavily armed gunship for good. In 2010, however, the U.S. Marine Corps introduced Harvest Hawk, a conversion kit for its KC-130 transport/tanker planes. Harvest Hawk allowed the Marines to launch Hellfire, Griffin, and Viper Strike air-to-surface missiles from a KC-130 against targets on the ground. A KC-130 equipped with Harvest Hawk can still perform aerial refueling and transport missions.
      Ideally, the perfect choice for launching swarms of cruise missiles at an enemy is the upcoming B-21 Raider stealth bomber—the coolest plane we've never seen. A B-21 could penetrate enemy defenses, attack targets, and slip out of enemy territory, ideally all without being detected.
      But at $621 million per aircraft, the B-21 is relatively expensive, and large numbers of the aircraft are a decade away. The Air Force has hundreds of transport planes that are paid for and ready to fly right now.
      he Air Force expressed hesitation in the past in arming transport planes—after all, a future conflict will find them moving and resupplying their own far-flung forces worldwide. Recent tests at Dugway Proving Ground, however, seem to have changed the service’s opinion. The tests saw a MC-130J Combat Talon special operations transport successfully airdrop three pallets, each carrying a simulated load of long range cruise missiles.
      The bomb truck concept, if successful, could greatly increase the number of cruise missiles available to U.S. forces at the start of a conflict. After their initial combat mission, the transports could quickly return to their traditional roles. If the concept gains traction, the bomb truck concept could give the Air Force a tremendous boost in firepower—all without buying a single new plane.
      View original article at PopularMechanics.com

    • SA Air Force (SAAF) technical personnel are stripping usable components from C-130BZ (tail number 403) next to the runway at Goma Airport in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after it was damaged during an incident at the beginning of the year.
      The 28 Squadron medium lift aircraft was left languishing askance with structural and engine damage after it hit a culvert a short distance from the runway in January.
      initial efforts at recovering usable parts from the four-engined transporter were hampered by United Nations bureaucracy. Additionally, the departure of a SAAF technical team was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic halting air transport and travel. Those obstacles no longer exist and social media postings show technicians stripping instrumentation and other usable parts.
      African Defense Review (ADR) director Darren Olivier said salvaged usable parts will be brought back to the squadron at Air Force Base Waterkloof for testing. This will probably see the involvement of Denel, in one form or other, as Denel Aviation is, as far as can be ascertained, still an approved maintenance organization (AMO) for the builders of Hercules aircraft, Lockheed Martin.
      In a presentation to Parliament last month, Denel said it has an ongoing product supply support contract for the SAAF’s C-130s valid until November 2021 worth R350 million.
      Olivier points out if the runway at Goma had larger run-off areas the aircraft could have been saved.
      “Damage like this is uneconomical to repair, especially on the SAAF budget,” he added.
      While the SAAF has not officially commented on the incident it is widely known 403 was due to return to South Africa from a logistics support mission to the central African country when a mechanical malfunction saw an engine catch fire. Sixty-seven passengers, including eight crew, were aboard and no-one was seriously injured.
      Two weeks ago the SAAF told defenceWeb the Hercules “has not been categorized”, which indicates the 57-year-old has not been written off (Cat Five). South Africa’s large and generally well-informed military aviation enthusiasts’ community feels the SAAF, which this year marks its centenary, will never see 403 back as an airworthy asset.
      View original article at defenceweb.co.az

    • The Air Education and Training Command’s mission is to recruit, train and educate exceptional Airmen. Ensuring Airmen in training make it to their next destination safely and on time is essential to maintaining the Air Force’s readiness. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, transporting students from one location to the next has brought about challenges.
      The 62nd Airlift Squadron here accepted the task of providing essential transportation to hundreds of students across the country in support of AETC’s training pipeline.
      The squadron’s airlift capabilities are an innovative way to protect and maintain AETC’s training pipeline.
      “These students would ordinarily fly commercially to their training locations,” said Maj. Nathan Eldredge, 62nd AS C-130J Super Hercules instructor pilot. “Each individual student usually goes through a commercial airport to get to their next destination, which could potentially expose them to the novel coronavirus. By using our planes to fly the students, they are kept in a safe environment and we can transport them and limit exposure to the virus.”
      Being there for every step of the student’s transition allows for members of the 62nd AS to directly supervise and mitigate the student’s exposure to COVID-19.
      “We have more control over the number of people that the students come in contact with,” said Lt. Col. Shane Saum, 62nd AS director of operations. “By limiting the number of people they come in contact with, wearing masks, disinfecting the aircraft before and after the students fly in them, putting them in quarantine before and after they travel, and having them checked out by doctors before they leave, we're able to control the variables better than if we were to send them through a commercial airline terminal.”
      AETC’s student training pipeline involves flying students from one training program to the next. Without students flowing to their next assignment, a gap in the system occurs.
      “The Air Force’s readiness is dependent upon AETC’s students completing training,” Saum said. “You only have a finite number of days in the year paired with a finite number of classes to push these Airmen through. If these students don't get moved from point A to point B, they can't start the next phase of their training, which can cause a major clog in the pipeline.”
      While training combat-minded aircrew is the main mission of the 62nd AS, members of the squadron accepted the task of transporting the students, in addition to their normal duties.
      “These operations are considered emergency airlift under DoD guidance,” Saum said. “We're going above and beyond what our standard mission is by not utilizing Air Mobility Command or Tanker Airlift Control Center, which are the ones who normally fly these kinds of missions. We're still training students, but we're also helping further by getting other students where they need to go.”
      With the new 8.1 block upgrade for the C-130J Super Hercules rolling out, the squadron saw an opportunity to use this mission as continuation training for instructor pilots — allowing the pilots to get hands on training with the upgrade before they begin teaching it to their students.
      “Our pilots are also gaining a regular proficiency, which is important now, more than ever,” Saum said. “COVID-19 has decreased our operations quite a bit, even though we've maintained all of our student training, we have not become more than five days late for any student graduation.”
      The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges and has altered many processes across the Air Force. By transporting the students, the 62nd AS helped create a new organic system which keeps operations going.
      “It's rewarding,” Eldredge said. “COVID-19 is not something that we can fight in the traditional sense, so us transporting the students is an innovative solution that allows our squadron members to contribute further to AETC’s mission and keep the pipeline going.”
      View original article at aetc.af.mil

    • A total force integration team of active-duty testers and Air National Guard Airmen were rewarded recently for their combined efforts on a money-saving C-130H propeller system.
      The C-130H NP2000 test team made up of 417th Flight Test Squadron and Wyoming ANG's 153rd Airlift Wing personnel earned the 2019 Gen. Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award. More than eight different organizations were ultimately involved with the test effort.
      “Congratulations to this innovative and strategic-minded team for creating positive impacts across the total force,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, 96th Test Wing commander. “This successful initiative paved the way for future integrated efforts.”
      This joint testing began in January 2018 when aircraft and team arrived here.  The ANG C-130H model was fitting with a new propeller system that added two more blades than the typical six-blade engines seen on most models.
      The goal of the TFI testing was to collect data and confirm increased fuel efficiency, reliability and overall performance improvements could be gained from the new propellers and upgraded engines.
      The benefits of the upgraded system included shorter take-off roll, improved climb, quieter operations, and lower operating and support costs, according to Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the program office for the test.
      The testing was proven successful decreasing aircraft fuel costs by 10%.  The success led to the fast-tracking of the plan to swap the fleet’s aging propeller blades to the newly tested ones.
      Locally, the expertise among the testers and ANG allowed the team to reduce the required test flights by 21% saving the project $850,000 and four-months of evaluations.
      “The biggest reason for our success was the effort of the Wyoming ANG Airmen,” said James Jeffrey Hoy, 417th FLTS lead flight test engineer for the team.  “This program required a large, sustained manpower effort and they met this while also maintaining their operational state in Cheyenne.  Their constant support allowed the team to execute the program without sacrificing test schedule or data quality.”
      The One Air Force award is given for mission success achieved by a team made up of two or more Total Force components. It recognizes the team that best demonstrates improved effectiveness, operational readiness or mission accomplishment through integrated solutions.
      View original article at Edwards.af.mil

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