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Four More Guard Wings Tapped for Upgrade to C-130J


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Four More Guard Wings Tapped for Upgrade to C-130J

Sept. 14, 2023 | By Greg Hadley

The Air Force has selected four more Air National Guard wings to transition to the new C-130J Super Hercules, a key inflection point as the Guard modernizes.

The C-130Js feature a roomier, “stretched” fuselage, more powerful engines with composite six-blade propellers, and digital avionics and mission computers. That means J’s can fly faster, higher, and farther than the C-130H. 

The four wings receiving new C-130Js in place of H-models: 

  • 103rd Airlift Wing, in Connecticut 

  • 120th Airlift Wing, in Montana 

  • 133rd Airlift Wing, in Minnesota 

  • 182nd Airlift Wing, in Illinois 

Each wing is getting eight C-130Js, with the timeline to be determined, according to a release. Final approval of the plan is pending as the Air Guard awaits completion of an environmental impact study no later than fiscal 2025. 

Six other Guard wings are already flying or scheduled to receive the C-130J:  

  • 123rd Airlift Wing, in Kentucky 

  • 130th Airlift Wing, in West Virginia 

  • 136th Airlift Wing, in Texas 

  • 143rd Airlift Wing, in Rhode Island 

  • 146th Airlift Wing, in California 

  • 165th Airlift Wing, in Georgia 

Additionally, the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing has been selected to host the Guard’s C-130J Formal Training Unit, gaining four C-130Js in addition to its existing C-130H schoolhouse. 

The 165th Wing in Georgia is the latest unit to make the transition to the J model. Its last C-130H departed Savannah Air National Guard Base, Ga., on Aug. 18, and the newer aircraft are slated to start arriving in December. 

Once the latest four wings receive their new airframes, the Guard will have more J-models than H’s, with just five units still flying the older model: 

  • 139th Airlift Wing, in Missouri 

  • 152nd Airlift Wing, in Nevada 

  • 153rd Airlift Wing, in Wyoming 

  • 166th Airlift Wing, in Delaware 

  • 179th Airlift Wing, in Ohio 

The Guard is catching up to the Active-Duty force, which has already completed its transition from the C-130H.


4 Air National Guard locations chosen for next C-130H to C-130J upgrades

  • Published Sept. 14, 2023

  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs


The Department of the Air Force selected 103rd Airlift Wing (Hartford, Connecticut), 120th Airlift Wing (Great Falls, Montana), 133rd Airlift Wing (Minneapolis), and 182nd Airlift Wing (Peoria, Illinois), as the preferred locations to receive C-130J Super Hercules to replace their aging C-130Hs, pending the outcome of environmental assessments.

A total of eight C-130J aircraft will be used to recapitalize the aging C-130H fleet at each location.

This significant series upgrade will require new flight qualification for pilots and loadmasters transitioning airframes. Any excess in manpower due to this shift will be repurposed through the Air National Guard corporate process and will vary by location.

The Air National Guard will analyze each unit to determine the bed down sequencing timelines.

The Department of the Air Force will now conduct an environmental impact analysis at each location, which are expected to be completed in fiscal year 2025 before a final decision is made.


Scott Ward

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