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  1. Lockheed Martin's C-130J Super Hercules aircraft is not just the workhorse for the military but also a super achiever. In its career that has spanned over two decades, this aircraft has landed in the Arctic, on the highest airstrip, and even an aircraft carrier carrying out medevac, troop, and cargo transport. The US Air Force now plans to make it a seaplane as well, thereby making it possible for this mighty aircraft to land anywhere across the globe. To ensure that the new version of the aircraft is not just limited to water bodies, the Air Force Special Operations Command is partnering with the Air Force Research Lab's Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (AFRL-SDPE) to develop amphibious capability. Dubbed as MAC (MC-130J Commando II Amphibious Capability) will "increase placement and access for infiltration, exfiltration, and personnel recovery, as well as providing enhanced logistical capabilities for future competition and conflict," Lt Col Josh Trantham at AFSOC said in the press release. Colossal Antarctic Cruiser Vanished in the Snow. Here's What Happened to It The AFSOC is currently working with a task force of industrial partners and plans to undertake a five-phase rapid prototyping schedule to demonstrate operational capability in just 17 months. This could also potentially be used on other C130s with minor modifications, the press release said. Aiding the accelerated development plans is the Digital Proving Ground (DPG), a virtual setting that uses digital design, virtual reality (VR) modeling, and computer-aided design for simulation and testing of prototypes. The DPG also allows the use of advanced manufacturing for rapid prototyping, further accelerating the testing phase of the prototypes. The AFSOC released some prototype images that have been tested on the DPG. According to the press release, the DPG has multiple capabilities such as "mission review, aircraft system analysis, design ideation, engineering risk-reduction, virtual reality, concept imagery" and also allows for feasibility studies. Praising the platform, Maj Kristen Cepak, Chief of Technology Transition Branch at AFSOC said, "Being able to experiment with existing technology to evaluate design tradeoffs and test a new system before ever bending metal is a game-changer." A rendering of an amphibious modification to an MC-130J Commando II is shown here that is used in the Digital Proving Grounds. Air Force Special Operations Command and private sector counterparts are currently developing a Removable Amphibious Float Modification (RAFM) for the MC-130J, allowing the aircraft to take off and land in bodies of water. (Courtesy photo) Source: US Air Force Once developed, MAC is expected to be used by a wide variety of services across the C130 platform, further expanding the versatility of this aircraft and reducing the dependence on dedicated infrastructure such as airstrips that are potential targets during a conflict. View original article: The US Air Force's MC-130 Seaplane is Finally in the Works (interestingengineering.com) View full article
  2. Lockheed Martin's C-130J Super Hercules aircraft is not just the workhorse for the military but also a super achiever. In its career that has spanned over two decades, this aircraft has landed in the Arctic, on the highest airstrip, and even an aircraft carrier carrying out medevac, troop, and cargo transport. The US Air Force now plans to make it a seaplane as well, thereby making it possible for this mighty aircraft to land anywhere across the globe. To ensure that the new version of the aircraft is not just limited to water bodies, the Air Force Special Operations Command is partnering with the Air Force Research Lab's Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (AFRL-SDPE) to develop amphibious capability. Dubbed as MAC (MC-130J Commando II Amphibious Capability) will "increase placement and access for infiltration, exfiltration, and personnel recovery, as well as providing enhanced logistical capabilities for future competition and conflict," Lt Col Josh Trantham at AFSOC said in the press release. Colossal Antarctic Cruiser Vanished in the Snow. Here's What Happened to It The AFSOC is currently working with a task force of industrial partners and plans to undertake a five-phase rapid prototyping schedule to demonstrate operational capability in just 17 months. This could also potentially be used on other C130s with minor modifications, the press release said. Aiding the accelerated development plans is the Digital Proving Ground (DPG), a virtual setting that uses digital design, virtual reality (VR) modeling, and computer-aided design for simulation and testing of prototypes. The DPG also allows the use of advanced manufacturing for rapid prototyping, further accelerating the testing phase of the prototypes. The AFSOC released some prototype images that have been tested on the DPG. According to the press release, the DPG has multiple capabilities such as "mission review, aircraft system analysis, design ideation, engineering risk-reduction, virtual reality, concept imagery" and also allows for feasibility studies. Praising the platform, Maj Kristen Cepak, Chief of Technology Transition Branch at AFSOC said, "Being able to experiment with existing technology to evaluate design tradeoffs and test a new system before ever bending metal is a game-changer." A rendering of an amphibious modification to an MC-130J Commando II is shown here that is used in the Digital Proving Grounds. Air Force Special Operations Command and private sector counterparts are currently developing a Removable Amphibious Float Modification (RAFM) for the MC-130J, allowing the aircraft to take off and land in bodies of water. (Courtesy photo) Source: US Air Force Once developed, MAC is expected to be used by a wide variety of services across the C130 platform, further expanding the versatility of this aircraft and reducing the dependence on dedicated infrastructure such as airstrips that are potential targets during a conflict. View original article: The US Air Force's MC-130 Seaplane is Finally in the Works (interestingengineering.com)
  3. LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Aircraft maintenance units at Little Rock Air Force Base recently turned toward implementing Torque, a software suite of tools and applications, as part of an effort to streamline processes and efficiency to improve productivity across the units and installation. In an effort to align with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles. Q. Brown Jr.’s Action Order Delta: Design Implementation, Torque was first introduced within one of 19th AMXS’s smaller sections, allowing users to see firsthand how the software could potentially replace their dated databases. Designed and developed by Kessel Run, the U.S. Air Force’s product development and programming team, the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron began beta testing the software in January 2021. “We used our smallest shop as a testbed to assess what the capabilities were and how we could leverage it to our advantage,” said Master Sgt. Jose Piedra, 19th AMXS section chief. “Once we gained this understanding, we started onboarding all of our shops week by week.” Piedra said the primary advantage of the Torque platform is the ability to pull and transfer data between various applications and integrate that information into a consolidated location, which is capable of updating in real-time due to the software’s modern technology. Specific to LRAFB-based maintenance units, the upside to the new software is its enhanced personnel management function, which improved the ability to track appointments, manning, and qualifications of all maintainers within one system. “It allows for synchronization of our entire team,” said Piedra. “Torque has many advantages including: allowing multiple people to login at the same time; access to full-time programmers that can add features; personal cellular device accessibility; and the data is stored on the cloud and is not dependent on government networks.” Once the capabilities were clear and the 19th AMXS knew what they had, it was shared with mission partners across LRAFB. “We linked up with 19th AMXS to see what the product looked like and sat in on some Zoom meetings with Kessel Run,” said Master Sgt. Nathan Horrocks, 314th AMXS section chief. “This familiarized us with the program and let us know what to expect. We have now been using the system for several months.” Despite the advantages Torque provides TLR aircraft maintenance, Horrocks said funding beyond FY21 is not guaranteed and could lead to reverting back to their old systems. “If Torque was no longer available we would have a couple of options,” Horrocks said. “We could pursue another application, which would cost more money, or revert back to our old systems, which took more time and was much less efficient.” The advantages to using Torque is why Piedra and Horrocks want to see it stick around, because without it, they said mission efficiency suffers. “Torque lowers the possibility of scheduling conflicts or overcommitting our people,” Piedra said. “With our old programs we would come into scheduling conflicts. Moreover, on some occasions the schedule wasn’t updated and we wouldn’t have the appropriate coverage. Torque allows us to all be on the same page and optimize mission effectiveness.” View Original Article: Torque synchronizes TLR C-130J aircraft maintenance > Little Rock Air Force Base > Article Display
  4. LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Aircraft maintenance units at Little Rock Air Force Base recently turned toward implementing Torque, a software suite of tools and applications, as part of an effort to streamline processes and efficiency to improve productivity across the units and installation. In an effort to align with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles. Q. Brown Jr.’s Action Order Delta: Design Implementation, Torque was first introduced within one of 19th AMXS’s smaller sections, allowing users to see firsthand how the software could potentially replace their dated databases. Designed and developed by Kessel Run, the U.S. Air Force’s product development and programming team, the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron began beta testing the software in January 2021. “We used our smallest shop as a testbed to assess what the capabilities were and how we could leverage it to our advantage,” said Master Sgt. Jose Piedra, 19th AMXS section chief. “Once we gained this understanding, we started onboarding all of our shops week by week.” Piedra said the primary advantage of the Torque platform is the ability to pull and transfer data between various applications and integrate that information into a consolidated location, which is capable of updating in real-time due to the software’s modern technology. Specific to LRAFB-based maintenance units, the upside to the new software is its enhanced personnel management function, which improved the ability to track appointments, manning, and qualifications of all maintainers within one system. “It allows for synchronization of our entire team,” said Piedra. “Torque has many advantages including: allowing multiple people to login at the same time; access to full-time programmers that can add features; personal cellular device accessibility; and the data is stored on the cloud and is not dependent on government networks.” Once the capabilities were clear and the 19th AMXS knew what they had, it was shared with mission partners across LRAFB. “We linked up with 19th AMXS to see what the product looked like and sat in on some Zoom meetings with Kessel Run,” said Master Sgt. Nathan Horrocks, 314th AMXS section chief. “This familiarized us with the program and let us know what to expect. We have now been using the system for several months.” Despite the advantages Torque provides TLR aircraft maintenance, Horrocks said funding beyond FY21 is not guaranteed and could lead to reverting back to their old systems. “If Torque was no longer available we would have a couple of options,” Horrocks said. “We could pursue another application, which would cost more money, or revert back to our old systems, which took more time and was much less efficient.” The advantages to using Torque is why Piedra and Horrocks want to see it stick around, because without it, they said mission efficiency suffers. “Torque lowers the possibility of scheduling conflicts or overcommitting our people,” Piedra said. “With our old programs we would come into scheduling conflicts. Moreover, on some occasions the schedule wasn’t updated and we wouldn’t have the appropriate coverage. Torque allows us to all be on the same page and optimize mission effectiveness.” View Original Article: Torque synchronizes TLR C-130J aircraft maintenance > Little Rock Air Force Base > Article Display View full article
  5. PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- The 302nd Airlift Wing has three C-130 Hercules aircraft flying sorties out of McClellan Air Tanker Base this year in Sacramento County, California, performing an aerial firefighting mission unique within the Air Force Reserve. Since first being activated July 20, the 302 AW has been working together with other military aircraft from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd AW, Wyoming ANG’s 153rd AW, and California ANG’s 146th AW to drop millions of gallons of fire retardant in support of fire suppression efforts in California. On Aug. 25, all eight C-130 aerial firefighting aircraft were activated for the first time since 2012. The aircraft are equipped with a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighting System unit loaded in the cargo bay without requiring any structural modifications to the airframe, enabling crews to drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in less than 5 seconds over a quarter mile stretch of land. As of Sept. 12, the combined effort of these units has resulted in the delivery of 23 million pounds of fire retardant through 925 drops over a variety of fires since ANG assistance was first requested June 26. This has been the second highest producing season in the 48-year history of MAFFS. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE, the host unit at McClellan ATB, also broke personal records this year by mixing and delivering 6.5 million gallons of fire retardant supporting military and civilian aerial firefighting aircraft alike. “Everything we do is to support the work accomplished by the crews on the ground,” said Lt. Col. Brad Ross, 302nd Operations Group commander. “With a few rare exceptions, the retardant drops cannot put out a fire on their own, but slow the fire and reinforce lines laid by the firefighters providing a better opportunity to contain the fire.” Ross said firefighting efforts have been focused on the Dixie, Caldor, Antelope, River Complex, Monument, French and several other smaller fires. Each fire presents its own unique challenge, whether it’s variations in terrain, problems with visibility, or ensuring separation from other aircraft on larger fires. Even though there are well-established procedures preparing crews for these challenges, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. “Flying MAFFS is the most tactical, challenging flying that we do outside of deployed combat zones,” said Master Sgt. Michael Davenport, 731st Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “Low-level flying in the mountains over ridges and through valleys for retardant drops 150-200 feet above ground level while considering weather and fire conditions requires the best, most experienced aircrews a squadron has to offer.” Davenport said the most important part of MAFFS is maintaining situational awareness. Each crew member needs to be aware of everything happening around them while flying to and from fires. Everyone is listening to radio calls, watching airspeeds and altitudes, monitoring aircraft and MAFFS systems while communicating with one another every step of the way. Situational awareness and warding off tunnel vision is vital for flying in general, but significantly more important when flying over wildfires. The number of drops on any given day depends on a wide variety of factors. During calm days with no breeze it’s possible for smoke to linger and greatly impact visibility during flight, limiting the ability of crews to drop. They also don’t fly before sunrise or after sunset because it adds another layer of risk to an already challenging mission. But, when conditions are right, it’s possible for one crew to perform 15 drops in a single day. Everybody needs to be ready to go within minutes in case a launch order is called for, and crews are often on standby until sunset. Each drop involves a coordinated effort between aircrew, maintenance teams, CAL FIRE ground crew and the U.S. Forest Service to ensure the process goes as smoothly and safely as possible, from the moment the aircraft starts to the moment the fire retardant is discharged. “All of us take a tremendous amount of pride from being a part of flying the MAFFS mission,” Davenport said. “Every year we see firsthand what kind of destruction wildfires can cause, so it’s an honor to be part of a larger effort to stop them and keep people safe.” At one point during the season, all eight military aircraft were airborne at the same time working together to fight the Dixie fire on its eastern and western zones. Ross said it can be challenging maneuvering that many aircraft at once during the loading pits when they come down to refill their MAFFS tanks. “The time commitments from our maintenance and operations personnel on scene are significant,” Ross said. “Our stated mission is to supply two planes and crews, but now we’re providing three and doing so very successfully. Our C-130s have retained a remarkable mission capable rate due to the hard work and dedication from the 302nd Maintenance Group, and getting large amounts of people and equipment out to support the operation doesn’t come together without the help of nearly every unit in the 302nd Mission Support Group.” Ross said the amount of drops happening wouldn't be possible without the extensive efforts of the 302nd MXG team committed to keeping the aircraft flying. Of the three aircraft the 302nd AW has supplied to the firefighting efforts, only one has been down so far due to maintenance issues which were resolved quickly. Another aircraft was down for a major inspection that takes a week during normal operations, but the team finished in just four days. Maintainers have been providing a 100% aircraft commitment rate for two months, which is unheard of according to Ross. Lt. Col. Richard Pantusa, 302nd AW aerial firefighting chief, said crews flying C-130s work alongside other aircraft such as federally-activated large and very large air tankers, Air Force RC-26 infrared imaging platforms, helicopters, aerial supervision and water scooper aircraft. They also work together with California State S-2 trackers and OV-10 broncos, helicopters and various other manned and unmanned planes. Aircraft from as far as Australia have been joining the fire suppression efforts this year. “It required careful coordination between wing leadership, our partner wings in the ANG, and the National Interagency Fire Center, to ensure that we were able to support the requirements of the firefighting effort this year,” Pantusa said. “Our MAFFS team never ceases to amaze me, with many of our operations, maintenance, and logistics folks jumping-in with overwhelming motivation to do this mission well.” Only experienced aircrew are eligible to become qualified to perform the dangerous aerial firefighting mission, said Pantusa. They’re selected from within the 731st AS aircrews and require several years of flying experience in a variety of deployed and domestic operations prior to meeting the initial MAFFS qualification threshold. Once they meet the requirement, they’re trained during an annual training event hosted by the U.S. Forest Service. All MAFFS-certified crews attend this training every year. The 302nd AW has 10 MAFFS-certified crews prepared to support the mission with three currently flying, swapped out weekly. In the 1970s, Congress established the MAFFS Program to aid the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Typically, when all other civilian air tankers are activated but further assistance is needed, the U.S. Forest Service, through the National Interagency Fire Center, can request the aid of the U.S. Air Force's MAFFS flying units. MAFFS is a mission that highlights interagency cooperation. The 302nd AW works in concert with NIFC and the U.S. Forest Service. NIFC serves as a focal point for coordinating the national mobilization of resources for wildland fire. When it is determined MAFFS will be utilized, NIFC through U.S. Northern Command requests Air Force resources. Pantusa said conditions for wildfires in 2021 are at elevated levels over large portions of the Western United States, and all types of resources have been activated to support the national effort. The military aerial firefighting efforts are expected to continue through to the end of October. View original article: Reserve C-130 aerial firefighting teams fly during second busiest wildfire season > U.S. Air Force > Article Display (af.mil)
  6. PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- The 302nd Airlift Wing has three C-130 Hercules aircraft flying sorties out of McClellan Air Tanker Base this year in Sacramento County, California, performing an aerial firefighting mission unique within the Air Force Reserve. Since first being activated July 20, the 302 AW has been working together with other military aircraft from Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd AW, Wyoming ANG’s 153rd AW, and California ANG’s 146th AW to drop millions of gallons of fire retardant in support of fire suppression efforts in California. On Aug. 25, all eight C-130 aerial firefighting aircraft were activated for the first time since 2012. The aircraft are equipped with a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighting System unit loaded in the cargo bay without requiring any structural modifications to the airframe, enabling crews to drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in less than 5 seconds over a quarter mile stretch of land. As of Sept. 12, the combined effort of these units has resulted in the delivery of 23 million pounds of fire retardant through 925 drops over a variety of fires since ANG assistance was first requested June 26. This has been the second highest producing season in the 48-year history of MAFFS. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE, the host unit at McClellan ATB, also broke personal records this year by mixing and delivering 6.5 million gallons of fire retardant supporting military and civilian aerial firefighting aircraft alike. “Everything we do is to support the work accomplished by the crews on the ground,” said Lt. Col. Brad Ross, 302nd Operations Group commander. “With a few rare exceptions, the retardant drops cannot put out a fire on their own, but slow the fire and reinforce lines laid by the firefighters providing a better opportunity to contain the fire.” Ross said firefighting efforts have been focused on the Dixie, Caldor, Antelope, River Complex, Monument, French and several other smaller fires. Each fire presents its own unique challenge, whether it’s variations in terrain, problems with visibility, or ensuring separation from other aircraft on larger fires. Even though there are well-established procedures preparing crews for these challenges, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. “Flying MAFFS is the most tactical, challenging flying that we do outside of deployed combat zones,” said Master Sgt. Michael Davenport, 731st Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “Low-level flying in the mountains over ridges and through valleys for retardant drops 150-200 feet above ground level while considering weather and fire conditions requires the best, most experienced aircrews a squadron has to offer.” Davenport said the most important part of MAFFS is maintaining situational awareness. Each crew member needs to be aware of everything happening around them while flying to and from fires. Everyone is listening to radio calls, watching airspeeds and altitudes, monitoring aircraft and MAFFS systems while communicating with one another every step of the way. Situational awareness and warding off tunnel vision is vital for flying in general, but significantly more important when flying over wildfires. The number of drops on any given day depends on a wide variety of factors. During calm days with no breeze it’s possible for smoke to linger and greatly impact visibility during flight, limiting the ability of crews to drop. They also don’t fly before sunrise or after sunset because it adds another layer of risk to an already challenging mission. But, when conditions are right, it’s possible for one crew to perform 15 drops in a single day. Everybody needs to be ready to go within minutes in case a launch order is called for, and crews are often on standby until sunset. Each drop involves a coordinated effort between aircrew, maintenance teams, CAL FIRE ground crew and the U.S. Forest Service to ensure the process goes as smoothly and safely as possible, from the moment the aircraft starts to the moment the fire retardant is discharged. “All of us take a tremendous amount of pride from being a part of flying the MAFFS mission,” Davenport said. “Every year we see firsthand what kind of destruction wildfires can cause, so it’s an honor to be part of a larger effort to stop them and keep people safe.” At one point during the season, all eight military aircraft were airborne at the same time working together to fight the Dixie fire on its eastern and western zones. Ross said it can be challenging maneuvering that many aircraft at once during the loading pits when they come down to refill their MAFFS tanks. “The time commitments from our maintenance and operations personnel on scene are significant,” Ross said. “Our stated mission is to supply two planes and crews, but now we’re providing three and doing so very successfully. Our C-130s have retained a remarkable mission capable rate due to the hard work and dedication from the 302nd Maintenance Group, and getting large amounts of people and equipment out to support the operation doesn’t come together without the help of nearly every unit in the 302nd Mission Support Group.” Ross said the amount of drops happening wouldn't be possible without the extensive efforts of the 302nd MXG team committed to keeping the aircraft flying. Of the three aircraft the 302nd AW has supplied to the firefighting efforts, only one has been down so far due to maintenance issues which were resolved quickly. Another aircraft was down for a major inspection that takes a week during normal operations, but the team finished in just four days. Maintainers have been providing a 100% aircraft commitment rate for two months, which is unheard of according to Ross. Lt. Col. Richard Pantusa, 302nd AW aerial firefighting chief, said crews flying C-130s work alongside other aircraft such as federally-activated large and very large air tankers, Air Force RC-26 infrared imaging platforms, helicopters, aerial supervision and water scooper aircraft. They also work together with California State S-2 trackers and OV-10 broncos, helicopters and various other manned and unmanned planes. Aircraft from as far as Australia have been joining the fire suppression efforts this year. “It required careful coordination between wing leadership, our partner wings in the ANG, and the National Interagency Fire Center, to ensure that we were able to support the requirements of the firefighting effort this year,” Pantusa said. “Our MAFFS team never ceases to amaze me, with many of our operations, maintenance, and logistics folks jumping-in with overwhelming motivation to do this mission well.” Only experienced aircrew are eligible to become qualified to perform the dangerous aerial firefighting mission, said Pantusa. They’re selected from within the 731st AS aircrews and require several years of flying experience in a variety of deployed and domestic operations prior to meeting the initial MAFFS qualification threshold. Once they meet the requirement, they’re trained during an annual training event hosted by the U.S. Forest Service. All MAFFS-certified crews attend this training every year. The 302nd AW has 10 MAFFS-certified crews prepared to support the mission with three currently flying, swapped out weekly. In the 1970s, Congress established the MAFFS Program to aid the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Typically, when all other civilian air tankers are activated but further assistance is needed, the U.S. Forest Service, through the National Interagency Fire Center, can request the aid of the U.S. Air Force's MAFFS flying units. MAFFS is a mission that highlights interagency cooperation. The 302nd AW works in concert with NIFC and the U.S. Forest Service. NIFC serves as a focal point for coordinating the national mobilization of resources for wildland fire. When it is determined MAFFS will be utilized, NIFC through U.S. Northern Command requests Air Force resources. Pantusa said conditions for wildfires in 2021 are at elevated levels over large portions of the Western United States, and all types of resources have been activated to support the national effort. The military aerial firefighting efforts are expected to continue through to the end of October. View original article: Reserve C-130 aerial firefighting teams fly during second busiest wildfire season > U.S. Air Force > Article Display (af.mil) View full article
  7. Remembering the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, provides little cause to celebrate for the vast majority of United States citizens, including members of the Armed Forces. Many face the day with somber reverence to the memory of all the victims and the heroes that sacrificed themselves that day (and for the 20 years since) so that others may live in peace and security. The significance is not lost on the Airmen of the 908th Airlift Wing, who, despite continuing to conduct tactical airlift missions around the globe, made it a priority to execute a flyover of Braly Stadium, home to the University of North Alabama Lions. “To see such a beautiful sight of your C-130 Hercules, lining up in a distance, coming directly behind and over the flagpole with the American Flag flying, with landing lights on, was the most incredible sight I've seen at a UNA football game,” said UNA alumnus and retired Army Col. Riley Brewer. “Many others have consented with my comment. I wish you could have heard the cheers and experienced the excitement that the 908th generated from the flyover.” The flyover occurred during the UNA vs. the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs pre-game festivities on the 20th anniversary of the infamous attacks, and showcased the support and solidarity the U.S. Air Force Reserve shares with our community partners. Brewer, who helped coordinate the event, embraces the partnership and thanked everyone from the 908th from the command staff to the aircrew for making the flyover possible. “The 908th Airlift Wing played a huge part in making a day of remembrance and recognition successful,” he said. “We can't thank you enough for the sacrifices each Airman and family member makes to keep our country safe and secure.” The aircraft and crew were at the end of a long day, having already transported several members of the 908th AW’s 25th Aerial Port Squadron to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., for training. Their re-routed their return to base over the residential section of Florence, Ala., home to the 130-acre campus. UNA Associate Athletic Director Ms. Megan L. Dye, who also helped coordinate the pre-game flyover, was impressed with the 908th’s demonstration of our commitment to U.S. citizens. “Yesterday was such a memorable day for our community,” she said. “We are so very grateful for your efforts and support of our event. I have been at North Alabama for almost 10 years, and it was truly my favorite moment during my time here.” The UTC Mocs defeated the UNA Lions by a score of 20-0. View Original article: 908th Airlift Wing remembers 9/11 with flyover > Youngstown Air Reserve Station > Article Display (af.mil)
  8. Remembering the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, provides little cause to celebrate for the vast majority of United States citizens, including members of the Armed Forces. Many face the day with somber reverence to the memory of all the victims and the heroes that sacrificed themselves that day (and for the 20 years since) so that others may live in peace and security. The significance is not lost on the Airmen of the 908th Airlift Wing, who, despite continuing to conduct tactical airlift missions around the globe, made it a priority to execute a flyover of Braly Stadium, home to the University of North Alabama Lions. “To see such a beautiful sight of your C-130 Hercules, lining up in a distance, coming directly behind and over the flagpole with the American Flag flying, with landing lights on, was the most incredible sight I've seen at a UNA football game,” said UNA alumnus and retired Army Col. Riley Brewer. “Many others have consented with my comment. I wish you could have heard the cheers and experienced the excitement that the 908th generated from the flyover.” The flyover occurred during the UNA vs. the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs pre-game festivities on the 20th anniversary of the infamous attacks, and showcased the support and solidarity the U.S. Air Force Reserve shares with our community partners. Brewer, who helped coordinate the event, embraces the partnership and thanked everyone from the 908th from the command staff to the aircrew for making the flyover possible. “The 908th Airlift Wing played a huge part in making a day of remembrance and recognition successful,” he said. “We can't thank you enough for the sacrifices each Airman and family member makes to keep our country safe and secure.” The aircraft and crew were at the end of a long day, having already transported several members of the 908th AW’s 25th Aerial Port Squadron to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., for training. Their re-routed their return to base over the residential section of Florence, Ala., home to the 130-acre campus. UNA Associate Athletic Director Ms. Megan L. Dye, who also helped coordinate the pre-game flyover, was impressed with the 908th’s demonstration of our commitment to U.S. citizens. “Yesterday was such a memorable day for our community,” she said. “We are so very grateful for your efforts and support of our event. I have been at North Alabama for almost 10 years, and it was truly my favorite moment during my time here.” The UTC Mocs defeated the UNA Lions by a score of 20-0. View Original article: 908th Airlift Wing remembers 9/11 with flyover > Youngstown Air Reserve Station > Article Display (af.mil) View full article
  9. A C-130 from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., went to Haiti over the weekend, carrying a team from U.S. Southern Command to assess the impact of a massive earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation Aug. 14. The C-130 Hercules from the 19th Airlift Wing took off from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., and arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Aug. 15. The 14-member SOUTHCOM Situational Awareness Team will work with American diplomats and disaster assistance personnel to survey and assess the impact of the 7.2-magnitude quake. The official death toll reached at least 1,297 on Aug. 16 and is expected to grow in the coming days. The results of that survey will help SOUTHCOM to “identify U.S. military capabilities needed and available to support U.S. foreign disaster assistance,” the command said in a press release announcing the formation of a joint task force. Other military aircraft have also deployed in support of the task force. The Navy is using its ScanEagle drones and P-8 Poseidon planes to provide aerial images of the areas affected by the earthquake. Four helicopters—two UH-60s and two CH-47s—will also provide airlift support for relief efforts. The Air Force has assisted in humanitarian relief for Haiti before. In 2016, when Hurricane Matthew caused billions of dollars in damages and left many homeless, Airmen helped establish aerial ports and to transport food, medicine and other essential supplies. In 2010, when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, the Air Force formed part of a massive military response, airlifting in supplies, helping to evacuate affected individuals, and providing air traffic control as thousands of aircraft arrived with aid in austere conditions. View original article: C-130 Carrying Disaster Assistance Team Deploys to Haiti for Earthquake Aid - Air Force Magazine
  10. A C-130 from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., went to Haiti over the weekend, carrying a team from U.S. Southern Command to assess the impact of a massive earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation Aug. 14. The C-130 Hercules from the 19th Airlift Wing took off from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., and arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Aug. 15. The 14-member SOUTHCOM Situational Awareness Team will work with American diplomats and disaster assistance personnel to survey and assess the impact of the 7.2-magnitude quake. The official death toll reached at least 1,297 on Aug. 16 and is expected to grow in the coming days. The results of that survey will help SOUTHCOM to “identify U.S. military capabilities needed and available to support U.S. foreign disaster assistance,” the command said in a press release announcing the formation of a joint task force. Other military aircraft have also deployed in support of the task force. The Navy is using its ScanEagle drones and P-8 Poseidon planes to provide aerial images of the areas affected by the earthquake. Four helicopters—two UH-60s and two CH-47s—will also provide airlift support for relief efforts. The Air Force has assisted in humanitarian relief for Haiti before. In 2016, when Hurricane Matthew caused billions of dollars in damages and left many homeless, Airmen helped establish aerial ports and to transport food, medicine and other essential supplies. In 2010, when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, the Air Force formed part of a massive military response, airlifting in supplies, helping to evacuate affected individuals, and providing air traffic control as thousands of aircraft arrived with aid in austere conditions. View original article: C-130 Carrying Disaster Assistance Team Deploys to Haiti for Earthquake Aid - Air Force Magazine View full article
  11. This wildfire season in the 48 contiguous states so far is turning out to be one to be remembered. Today nearly 25,000 personnel are working on suppressing 93 large fires across 14 states. In addition, another 47 fires are being managed under a strategy other than full suppression. In May the Forest Service said they would have 34 large air tankers (LAT) if needed — 18 on Exclusive Use Contracts guaranteed to work, plus 8 “surge” LATs guaranteed to work for a shorter period of time, and another 8 on Call When Needed (CWN) status. Of those 16 surge and CWN aircraft, only 5 could be produced in July. One LAT, a 737 owned by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in Australia, has flown across the Pacific to lend a hand. On July 14 the National Interagency Fire Center upgraded the Preparedness Level to 5, which was the earliest date in 10 years. There is a shortage of Incident Management Teams (IMT). All available Type 1 IMTs, 14 of them, are assigned, plus 24 Type 2 IMTs. The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) decreed on July 18 that all requests for Area Command, National Incident Management Organization (NIMO), Type 1, and Type 2 IMTs must be approved by them. All of the LATs available and under contract to the US Forest Service are being used. There are no more. So what’s left? The FS frequently says they can call on eight military C-130’s equipped with 3,000-gallon Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems (MAFFS). Since the 1970s the agency has committed a great deal of time and taxpayer funds coordinating with the Defense Department, annual training and certification, and when activated, paying the large costs associated with operating the aircraft. Each requires a seven-person crew, additional support personnel, and often a third conventional C-130 for every two MAFFS that are activated. They have not changed much since the 1970s. Instead of spraying retardant out of the lowered cargo ramp it goes out the left side troop door. They have two onboard air compressors that occasionally work, but still rely on huge industrial grade compressors on the ground to pressurize the spray system. Until a couple of days ago only five of the eight MAFFS had been working for the last several weeks. Late this week a sixth was brought on. Four military bases each have two MAFFS and are responsible for having personnel available to activate them in less than 48 hours. Two National Guard bases have activated only one. Wyoming’s 153rd Airlift Wing and California’s 146th Airlift Wing each have one parked. During a virtual meeting July 27 with Western Governors to discuss wildfire preparedness, President Joe Biden was told that their states need more aviation resources, help with obtaining aviation fuel, and more boots on the ground. On August 4 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the Governors’ request for additional aviation resources, “… Came to my desk. One of the challenges we’re working on right now is making sure we get the Defense Department personnel necessary to fly the planes. So sometimes it’s not even the planes, it’s the pilots, the people who know how to fly these planes…I was given instructions to… make sure we have the people in the planes to fly them.” The Secretary was most likely referring to the MAFFS. But it is the Secretary of Defense who needs to take action to provide flight crews. OPINION The Forest Service was only able to acquire, to help protect our homeland from wildfires, 31 percent of the CWN aircraft they said they expected, and 75 percent of the MAFFS. If what we’re doing is not working, will continuing to do the same thing bring different results? If the Air Force can’t 100 percent support the MAFFS, an evaluation of the program by a completely independent group is warranted. Is there a better way to provide this service, or should a MAFFS 3.0 be designed and built? The analysis must be configured to insure that the FS does not have the ability to skew the objectives or the findings to fit any preconceived biases. And I’m not recommending a multi-million-dollar “study” that could take years. Simply get 8 to 10 subject matter experts in the same room to come up with a plan. The President needs to order the Department of Defense to take care of two important issues: Staff the MAFFS with qualified personnel so the equipment can be used to help protect our homeland. Order the Air Force to complete the conversion of the seven Coast Guard C-130’s into air tankers. They have been slow-walking this project and the $150 million Congress appropriated to get it done since December, 2013. Coulson Aviation has converted a C-130 into an air tanker in six months. It may not have required a new wing box, but eight to ten years is not reasonable. If the President does nothing to kick the Air Force in the butt, Congress should hold hearings. Apparently no viable contingency plans have been developed for this shortage of LATs by NMAC, Interagency Airtanker Board, and the leaders in the FS, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management. Not surprisingly, having only 18 LATs on exclusive use contracts is a strategy doomed to failure. That number is 26 fewer than were on EU contracts in 2002. Is this progress? One of the lessons learned this year and others like it, is, Congress must appropriate adequate funds for the five land management agencies to pay firefighters a living wage, conduct more prescribed fires, and have at least 40 large air tankers and 50 large Type 1 helicopters on exclusive use 10-year contracts instead of 1-year contracts. We often say, “air tankers don’t put out fires”. Under ideal conditions they can slow the spread which allows firefighters on the ground the opportunity to move in and suppress the fire in that area. If the winds are too strong or firefighters are not nearby, in most cases the flames will often burn over, through, or around the retardant. During these unprecedented circumstances brought on by the pandemic and drought we need to rely much more on aerial firefighting than in the past. And there must be an adequate number of firefighters available to supplement the work done from the air. It must go both ways. Firefighters in the air and on the ground supporting each other. For new fires that have a suppression objective, attacking them with overwhelming force from both the ground and the air can sometimes keep a small fire from becoming a megafire that burns homes and threatens the safety of our citizens. View original article: Reevaluating MAFFS - Wildfire Today
  12. This wildfire season in the 48 contiguous states so far is turning out to be one to be remembered. Today nearly 25,000 personnel are working on suppressing 93 large fires across 14 states. In addition, another 47 fires are being managed under a strategy other than full suppression. In May the Forest Service said they would have 34 large air tankers (LAT) if needed — 18 on Exclusive Use Contracts guaranteed to work, plus 8 “surge” LATs guaranteed to work for a shorter period of time, and another 8 on Call When Needed (CWN) status. Of those 16 surge and CWN aircraft, only 5 could be produced in July. One LAT, a 737 owned by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in Australia, has flown across the Pacific to lend a hand. On July 14 the National Interagency Fire Center upgraded the Preparedness Level to 5, which was the earliest date in 10 years. There is a shortage of Incident Management Teams (IMT). All available Type 1 IMTs, 14 of them, are assigned, plus 24 Type 2 IMTs. The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) decreed on July 18 that all requests for Area Command, National Incident Management Organization (NIMO), Type 1, and Type 2 IMTs must be approved by them. All of the LATs available and under contract to the US Forest Service are being used. There are no more. So what’s left? The FS frequently says they can call on eight military C-130’s equipped with 3,000-gallon Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems (MAFFS). Since the 1970s the agency has committed a great deal of time and taxpayer funds coordinating with the Defense Department, annual training and certification, and when activated, paying the large costs associated with operating the aircraft. Each requires a seven-person crew, additional support personnel, and often a third conventional C-130 for every two MAFFS that are activated. They have not changed much since the 1970s. Instead of spraying retardant out of the lowered cargo ramp it goes out the left side troop door. They have two onboard air compressors that occasionally work, but still rely on huge industrial grade compressors on the ground to pressurize the spray system. Until a couple of days ago only five of the eight MAFFS had been working for the last several weeks. Late this week a sixth was brought on. Four military bases each have two MAFFS and are responsible for having personnel available to activate them in less than 48 hours. Two National Guard bases have activated only one. Wyoming’s 153rd Airlift Wing and California’s 146th Airlift Wing each have one parked. During a virtual meeting July 27 with Western Governors to discuss wildfire preparedness, President Joe Biden was told that their states need more aviation resources, help with obtaining aviation fuel, and more boots on the ground. On August 4 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the Governors’ request for additional aviation resources, “… Came to my desk. One of the challenges we’re working on right now is making sure we get the Defense Department personnel necessary to fly the planes. So sometimes it’s not even the planes, it’s the pilots, the people who know how to fly these planes…I was given instructions to… make sure we have the people in the planes to fly them.” The Secretary was most likely referring to the MAFFS. But it is the Secretary of Defense who needs to take action to provide flight crews. OPINION The Forest Service was only able to acquire, to help protect our homeland from wildfires, 31 percent of the CWN aircraft they said they expected, and 75 percent of the MAFFS. If what we’re doing is not working, will continuing to do the same thing bring different results? If the Air Force can’t 100 percent support the MAFFS, an evaluation of the program by a completely independent group is warranted. Is there a better way to provide this service, or should a MAFFS 3.0 be designed and built? The analysis must be configured to insure that the FS does not have the ability to skew the objectives or the findings to fit any preconceived biases. And I’m not recommending a multi-million-dollar “study” that could take years. Simply get 8 to 10 subject matter experts in the same room to come up with a plan. The President needs to order the Department of Defense to take care of two important issues: Staff the MAFFS with qualified personnel so the equipment can be used to help protect our homeland. Order the Air Force to complete the conversion of the seven Coast Guard C-130’s into air tankers. They have been slow-walking this project and the $150 million Congress appropriated to get it done since December, 2013. Coulson Aviation has converted a C-130 into an air tanker in six months. It may not have required a new wing box, but eight to ten years is not reasonable. If the President does nothing to kick the Air Force in the butt, Congress should hold hearings. Apparently no viable contingency plans have been developed for this shortage of LATs by NMAC, Interagency Airtanker Board, and the leaders in the FS, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management. Not surprisingly, having only 18 LATs on exclusive use contracts is a strategy doomed to failure. That number is 26 fewer than were on EU contracts in 2002. Is this progress? One of the lessons learned this year and others like it, is, Congress must appropriate adequate funds for the five land management agencies to pay firefighters a living wage, conduct more prescribed fires, and have at least 40 large air tankers and 50 large Type 1 helicopters on exclusive use 10-year contracts instead of 1-year contracts. We often say, “air tankers don’t put out fires”. Under ideal conditions they can slow the spread which allows firefighters on the ground the opportunity to move in and suppress the fire in that area. If the winds are too strong or firefighters are not nearby, in most cases the flames will often burn over, through, or around the retardant. During these unprecedented circumstances brought on by the pandemic and drought we need to rely much more on aerial firefighting than in the past. And there must be an adequate number of firefighters available to supplement the work done from the air. It must go both ways. Firefighters in the air and on the ground supporting each other. For new fires that have a suppression objective, attacking them with overwhelming force from both the ground and the air can sometimes keep a small fire from becoming a megafire that burns homes and threatens the safety of our citizens. View original article: Reevaluating MAFFS - Wildfire Today View full article
  13. LAJES, Portugal – Fifteen Airmen from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing participated in a NATO search and rescue exercise in the Azores led by the Portuguese Air Force July 27-30. ASAREX 2021 (Advanced Search and Rescue Exercise) included elements from the National Guard, the Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Air Force, Portugal’s Maritime Police, Border Police and Civil Protection Force, and the Portuguese Air Force. Pararescue Airmen and an HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue plane from the 106th took part in the exercise, based at Portugal’s Air Base No. 4 at Lajes on Terceira Island. The island chain is in a key location in the Atlantic. The Coast Guard also sent an HC-130J Hercules, and the Canadians sent a CC-130H search and rescue aircraft with Canadian Search and Rescue Technicians on board. The Portuguese provided P-3 Orion ocean reconnaissance aircraft, the C-295M, C-130 H and UH-101 Merlin helicopters, and a destroyer, the NRP Viana Do Castelo. “I was very impressed by the amount of resources that the Portuguese had put into this exercise,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Dush, a pararescueman from the wing’s 103rd Rescue Squadron. The 106th was invited to the exercise because of its role in helping the Portuguese Air Force rescue injured crew members from the MV Tamar in 2017 after an explosion and fire on the vessel, wing leaders said. Two crew members died and two others were injured. Pararescuemen from the 106th parachuted into the ocean more than 1,000 miles out at sea to provide medical care for the injured sailors, then worked with the Portuguese Air Force to rescue them when the ship neared the Azores. The training scenarios for ASAREX 2021 provided new challenges for the 106th’s Airmen. Instead of looking for a ship, they had to locate a 20-man life raft. First, two pararescuemen boarded the HC-130 Combat King II at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base on Long Island and took a six-hour flight toward the Azores. Once on-site, the crew had to find the target life raft and the two “survivors” on board. Once the raft was located, the aircrew coordinated with the pararescuemen for the jump out of the plane. Dush, acting as the drop zone safety officer, was on the Portuguese naval destroyer, ensuring the area was safe for the pararescuemen to parachute into the water. Then the pararescuemen simulated medical treatment of the survivors and coordinated with a rescue boat for transport to safety. For the aircrew flying the 106th HC-130J during the rescue, this exercise was an opportunity to practice coordinating the pararescuemen jumping and deploying an MA-2 Sea Rescue Kit, said Maj. Ian D’Amico, the HC-130 pilot for the mission. The kit includes two 20-man life rafts with 210 feet of rope, medical supplies and emergency radio equipment designed to be dropped from an aircraft upwind from the survivor in the water. The wind and current push the rope and rafts toward the survivor, bracketing them and allowing them to pull themselves to either life raft. “We don’t get to deploy MA-2 Kits often, so this was an awesome opportunity for our aircrew flight equipment members to package them and for us to deploy them,” said D’Amico, a 102nd Rescue Squadron pilot. “It was perfectly executed. We dropped the package from 200 feet and it landed 50 feet upwind from the subject and it bracketed them like designed.” D’Amico said the exercise was excellent training. “Training our own long-range rescue capabilities and coordinating search and rescue with other countries was a huge opportunity for us,” D’Amico said. “When it comes to search and rescue, it’s all about readiness.” Ultimately, the exercise was an opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge on a multinational level, according to Master Sgt. Matthew Zimmer, a 103rd Rescue Squadron pararescueman and jumpmaster during the exercise. “It’s really valuable to be able to simulate a real-world scenario and work jointly with other countries involved in search and rescue,” Zimmer said. View original article: New York Air Guard joins NATO search and rescue exercise > Air National Guard > Article Display (af.mil)
  14. NAVAL AIR STATION JOINT RESERVE BASE FORT WORTH, Texas – The 136th Airlift Wing Texas Air National Guard, part of the Texas Military Department, received its first of eight C-130J Super Hercules aircraft on July 24, 2021, at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. During a Welcoming Reception, the aircraft was dedicated to Congresswoman Kay Granger and officially named, “The Kay Granger.” In her January e-newsletter, Congresswoman Granger, also a former Mayor of Fort Worth, commented on how proud she was that the wing was chosen to the new upgrade. “The Air Force’s decision comes after years of competition and evaluation of dozens of military bases,” Granger said. “Following my visit to the base earlier this year and seeing firsthand how the Texas Air National Guard and Texas Military Department were prepared to utilize these cutting-edge aircraft, I knew the 136th was the right choice.” For the past four decades, the wing has flown a version of the C-130 Hercules. Ever since its 1978 conversion to Hercs, it’s been the wing’s mission to move the people, equipment, and materiel it takes to fight a war. This J-model airframe upgrade further enables that mission and aligns the wing to the National Guard Bureau objective – to continue to modernize equipment, systems and processes to remain deployable, sustainable, and interoperable. The C-130J is the latest addition to the C-130 fleet and has replaced aging C-130Es and some of the high time C-130Hs. The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology, which reduces manpower requirements, lowers operating and support costs, and provides life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models. This tactical transport aircraft has proven itself in various types of missions, and in the harshest operating conditions, due in part to its uniquely adaptable platform available in approximately a dozen different configurations. During his opening comments, General (ret) Gary North, Vice President Customer Requirements Lockheed Martin Aeronautics said, “I’ve seen a lot of C-130s in my lifetime and the C-130J is the most advanced Hercules ever designed, produced, flown, and supported. The Hercules has always been a steady resource … ready for any task.” The ceremony’s distinguished visitor list included the guest of honor Congresswoman Kay Granger, 12th District Representative and Lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, as well as Maj Gen Tracy Norris, The Adjutant General of Texas, Gen. (ret) North, Maj. Gen. Tom Suelzer, Deputy Adjutant General – Air, and recently retired Maj. Gen. Dawn Farrell. As a National Guard unit, the 136th Airlift Wing has a dual role of serving the State of Texas under the command of the Governor during peace time and state emergencies, and becoming part of the active duty forces under the command of the President during wartime or other local or national emergencies. As Col. Keith Williams, 136AW commander, explains the wing’s mission is to provide highly trained, equipped and motivated military forces for worldwide combat and peacetime tasking supporting Texas and the Nation. “This C-130J aircraft will allow the 136th Airlift Wing to continue the mission of tactical airlift, but with greater capability,” said Williams. “We will be able to fly faster and with more payload. Its performance is measurably greater in hotter temperatures and higher density altitudes. It is the aircraft that this wing will fly for the next several decades. Representative Granger, I promise you that we will operate and maintain these aircraft to our utmost ability endeavoring to make you and the citizens of Texas proud.” Close to home and around the world … the 136th Airlift Wing Texas Air National Guard will continue to support Texans and their communities with the mighty Super Hercules by being … always ready, always there! View original article: Wing receives first C-130J Super Hercules > Air National Guard > Article Display (af.mil)
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