Guest Posted December 14, 2014 Share Posted December 14, 2014 (edited) The long-awaited, much anticipated National Defense Authorization Act for 2015, featuring language that clears the way for modernization of the 179th Air National Guard Airlift Wing's fleet of eight C-130H transport aircraft, finally made it out of Congress late Friday. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the wide-ranging legislation in the next few days. But Rich Green, former commander of the 179th and now leader of the Mansfield Military Affairs Council, isn't giving up the fight just yet. The 179th's aircraft would be prevented from flying across much of the globe by 2020 unless enhanced communication gear, known technically as Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast-Out, is installed on them. ADS-B installation costs can approach six figures for a single C-130 Hercules plane. The latest version of the NDAA includes an amendment co-sponsored by Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, among many others, that allows the Air Force to use alternative programs and funding in addition to the Avionics Modernization Program to modernize the C-130H fleet. While high-ranking officials in the Air National Guard have expressed confidence that this is the good news the C-130H fleet was waiting to hear, Green noted the fuzzy language of the amendment. "With respect to turning the tide on the ADS-B, it was the great support we received from our congressional delegation, and recently, the amendment. But, the Air Force having the â€˜option's doesn't guarantee it will happen, so we will continue to need the support of Congress to ensure it does," Green said. "This will be a continuing challenge until the planes are upgraded with ADS-B and other modifications that will extend the service life and operational capabilities of the planes." The Air Force's initial reluctance to see that the Air's C-130H planes remain viable is hardly the first threat that units like Mansfield's 179th have faced. The Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission, or BRAC, of 2005 momentarily put the 179th on the chopping block, although that BRAC ultimately worked to the unit's benefit. Such issues "are always a concern for unit members because it puts doubt in their minds regarding the future of the unit. But, as we have seen time and again in recent years, strong leadership by their commander, Colonel Gary McCue, and the resiliency of unit members to always accomplish their mission has been amazing," Green said. "Additionally, I also believe the continuing support of our community and congressional delegation has assured unit members that we are doing everything possible to retain the unit." Green characterized the 2015 NDAA as a clear win for the 179th Airlift Wing. "But it's just a necessary first step forward," he's said. "The job will not be done until the required modifications are complete and the Air Force embraces the value of a strong and ready Air Guard." View original article: http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2014/12/13/th-breathing-easier-now/20368371/ Edited August 18, 2015 by Casey Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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