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Metalbasher

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    Started out at Pope 86-90, then on to Yokota from 90-94, McGuire 94-97, Osan 97-98, then to Kadena (18 WG) 98-04, Edwards 04-06 then to Robins (06-present) in the AF Corrosion Prgm Office
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  1. Friday, 17 Dec 2021, C-130H # 82-0055 - was damn close (less than 2”) but no impact to the bridge/acft. Occurred off I-10 as you get off I-10 West for Route 87, turning left to head to Navarre (bridge is I-10). Acft ended up at Hurlburt Field as scheduled. Photos show C-130 aircraft being transported on I-10 to Hurlburt Field by WEAR staff Friday, December 17th 2021 SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla -- A C-130 aircraft was seen being transported Friday afternoon on I-10 in Northwest Florida. Florida Highway Patrol says the moving of the aircraft was permitted and approved over dimension transport. It was heading to Hurlburt Field. According to FHP, the C-130 did have to change lanes to a lower portion of the road/bridge so it would fit under. FHP states the aircraft never became stuck under the Highway 87/I-10 overpass in Milton. FHP says this did impact traffic on the highway.
  2. Sorry, never saw a blade painted grey. I know as long as I can remember the blades were always bare metal and only the tips were painted. If I were to guess maybe # 16473 gloss grey but not sure.
  3. DARPA nabs Gremlin drone in midair for first time By Stephen Losey Friday, Nov 5 An X-61 Gremlin drone and a C-130 conduct a flight test by DARPA at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah on Oct. 29, 2021. During the flight test, DARPA said it successfully recovered a Gremlin in midair for the first time. (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) WASHINGTON — For the first time, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recovered an unmanned X-61 Gremlin air vehicle to a C-130 in flight, marking a milestone in the U.S. military’s effort to deploy swarms of drones from a mothership. The first successful midair Gremlin recovery took place Oct. 29 at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, DARPA said in a Friday release. The agency noted that this flight test — the fourth deployment of the Gremlins — involved two of the small drones, which successfully carried out all formation flying positions and safety features. While one Gremlin was recovered, the second was destroyed during the flight tests, DARPA said. The Gremlins team then refurbished the recovered drone and flew it again within 24 working hours, the release said. DARPA hopes the program — named for the imaginary, mischievous creatures that World War II-era pilots blamed when their aircraft or equipment malfunctioned — will one day allow the military to launch groups of small sensor-laden drones from bombers, cargo planes or smaller aircraft such as fighters. DARPA envisions the motherships will stay out of range of enemy defenses, but the drone swarms would fly into danger and conduct missions such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance or electronic warfare. After the mothership collects the drones and brings them back to base, ground crews would get them ready for another flight within 24 hours, DARPA said in a 2018 report. The agency hopes each drone would have a lifetime of 20 flights. The agency said flying these relatively disposable drones would allow the military to accomplish missions much more cheaply and with less maintenance efforts than relying on nonexpendable systems meant to fly for decades. “This recovery was the culmination of years of hard work and demonstrates the feasibility of safe, reliable airborne recovery,” Lt. Col. Paul Calhoun, the Gremlins program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said in the release. “Such a capability will likely prove to be critical for future distributed air operations.” Previous attempts to conduct airborne retrievals of the Gremlins were unsuccessful. In October 2020, DARPA kicked off a series of flight tests in which it tried, but failed, nine times to recover three Gremlins. DARPA said at the time those attempts were each inches away from working, and all Gremlins safely parachuted to the ground. DARPA released a video of the successful recovery that showed the Gremlin latching into a docking bullet that extended from the C-130, folding its wings into its body and then being gripped by a recovery arm that took it into the C-130. This time, four flights were conducted, during which hours of data — including information on air vehicle performance, how contact worked during the airborne retrieval, and the aerodynamic interactions between the Gremlin and the C-130′s recovery bullet — were collected, the release said. “Airborne recovery is complex,” Calhoun said in the release. “We will take some time to enjoy the success of this deployment, then get back to work further analyzing the data and determining next steps for the Gremlins technology.” The Gremlin drones are made by Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos. o
  4. Kentucky Air National Guard recognized during the arrival of new C-130 aircrafts By Crystal Sicard Kentucky PUBLISHED 4:30 PM ET Nov. 06, 2021 LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Air National Guard was selected to receive new Hercules aircrafts. Gov. Andy Beshear and Senator Mitch McConnell celebrated the service members for the high recognition Saturday morning. The Kentucky Air National Guard received the newest version of the Hercules aircraft Saturday morning. Governor Andy Beshear spoke during the event, thanking the guardmembers for their hard work. “Today is the day where you get to accept a little bit of validation. Validation that the federal government and others have seen what we already know – that Kentucky's National Guard is the very best in the entire country,” Beshear said. Kentucky's was selected as one of the four Air Force National Guard branches to receive the newest C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. Beshear said with this new technology, operations will improve and less crew members will be required for flight. “With these new C-130 J super Hercules models, you'll have more payload, more capacity, more efficient engines and modern equipment. In other words, you can do even more good with every single flight that you take,” Beshear said. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell said the selection process was not easy, but being selected as one of the few states to receive the aircraft, just shows that the Kentucky National Guard has a strong national reputation. “The competition for these planes was intense, intense. Not only did you have to do your part but I had to try to do my part along with the help of my other colleagues in the delegation. And it is extremely gratifying to see this come together,” McConnell said. Once the two planes landed they were greeted with water cannons across the runway. Over the next 11 months, the 123rd Airlift Wing will receive a total of eight new models. The new C-120 J aircrafts will replace eight H-model aircrafts in Louisville. https://spectrumnews1.com/ky/louisville/news/2021/11/06/kentucky-air-national-guard-selected-to-receive-new-hercules-aircrafts?fbclid=IwAR3gqf0biVbr9OgaBd3s9CGO_ktROMr8EeOnXENnWLatIou-_AHNa1CIE6E#
  5. C-130J Super Hercules aircraft being prepped for debut at Kentucky Air Guard By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Horton, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs / Published November 05, 2021 PHOTO DETAILS / DOWNLOAD HI-RES 1 of 7 An Airman from the 123rd Maintenance Group observes the freshly-applied tail art of one of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s newly acquired C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Channel Islands Air Guard Station in Port Hueneme, Calif., Nov. 3, 2021. The aircraft is replacing the C-130H Hercules, which has been in service to the Kentucky Air National Guard since 1992. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Horton) PRINT | E-MAIL PORT HUENEME, Calif. -- Two new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft are being readied here to join the Kentucky Air National Guard fleet as maintainers apply distinctive artwork to the planes’ exterior paint in preparation for their debut in Louisville this weekend. The aircraft are scheduled to fly into the Kentucky Air Guard Base in Louisville at 9 a.m. Saturday during a welcome ceremony that marks a new era for local aviation, said Col. Ash Groves, commander of the 123rd Maintenance Group. The two transports are among eight that the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing will gain over the next 11 months to replace eight aging C-130 Hercules H-model aircraft, which were built in 1992. The last of the H-models departed Louisville in September to make way for the J-models. Of the six remaining aircraft pending arrival in Kentucky, three will be sourced from existing Air Force inventory, and three are being built especially for the 123rd Airlift Wing by Lockheed Martin in Marietta, Georgia, Groves said. The C-130J Super Hercules is the latest version in the Air Force inventory, with modern instrumentation, more efficient engines and a stretched fuselage for additional payload capacity that supports eight pallet positions in comparison to the H-model’s six. According to Maj. Chris Boescher, a pilot for the 165th Airlift Squadron who will be flying one of the aircraft back to Kentucky, the 123rd Airlift Wing is uniquely suited to make the most out of the aircraft’s updated capabilities. “It’s faster, it carries more cargo and it’s much more fuel efficient,” Boescher said. “It gives us a lot more reach and brings us into the next generation. Our unit is pretty unique with our co-located Contingency Response Group and Special Tactics Squadron in addition to where we are geographically and the facilities that we have. “We’re not only able to bring in the new airplane, but we can utilize it more effectively because we have so many resources around us and so many mission sets.” Another factor that made a strong case for the basing of J-models in Kentucky is the unit’s stellar reputation, said Lt. Col. Randall Hood, deputy commander for the 123rd Operations Group. “There’s no doubt that we’re one of the premier airlift units in the entire Air Force,” Hood said. “The Kentucky Air National Guard is always leading the way. We’re always there to volunteer, to help, and we’re always in the fight. Wherever we go, we have a reputation of excellence, so it carries through the force. They know what we’re capable of.” “To me, it seems like a continuation of the legacy that this unit has built up,” Boelscher said. “I came from active duty, but there are units around that you just know about. Kentucky is one that’s always had a great reputation for getting things done — any theater, any time, any place.” Among the artwork being applied to the aircraft is the Air National Guard emblem, the United States flag, a decal denoting the 123rd Airlift Wing’s 19 Outstanding Unit Awards, and a brand new tail flash — featuring block letters over a blue background with fleurs-di-lis adorning the sides. Prior to the conversion to the J-model, the unit flew the C-130H for almost 30 years. Hood said the switch was bittersweet, but added that the new aircraft will allow the wing to flourish even more. “With the leadership of this wing, the leadership of the group and squadrons, of the chiefs, the Airmen and the officers we have on this base, I have no doubt that we will continue to achieve greater and greater heights in the Kentucky Air National Guard,” he said.
  6. By Rachel S. Cohen Oct 11, 06:51 PM Members of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing take part in the inactivation ceremony of the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 28. The 41st EECS operated the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, conducting electronic warfare for just under 20 years in U.S. Central Command before being officially inactivated. (Master Sgt. Wolfram Stumpf/Air Force) After almost 20 years as a shadowy player in the War on Terror, the Air Force’s squadron of EC-130H electronic warfare planes is leaving its longtime home at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. The 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron formally shut down Sept. 28, marking another milestone in the U.S. military’s withdrawal from war against the Taliban and other insurgent forces in Afghanistan. The unit reverts back to the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron when not deployed. The squadron and its specialized “Compass Call” planes headed to U.S. Central Command from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. Since then, those EC-130H crews have flown about 14,750 sorties — more than 90,000 hours in the air. RELATED By Stephen Losey Compass Call’s unique mission has made it one of the most in-demand airframes in CENTCOM over the past 20 years. It carries a slew of hardware and software that allow airmen to eavesdrop on nearby combatants, interfere with enemy transmissions across radios and combat vehicles alike, jam radars and, in recent years, send computer code to wireless devices — regardless of whether they are connected to the internet. Those capabilities have come in handy from the start but continue to evolve as the globe grows increasingly dependent on assured connectivity and trustworthy information from those networks. “At the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, dozens of Iraqi soldiers waited patiently near the al Faw Peninsula for instructions being transmitted from higher headquarters to blow up key oil fields there. The message never came. In its place … was static,” the Air Force said of EC-130H operations in 2004, about two years into Compass Call’s time there. EC-130H crews include about a dozen airmen onboard: two pilots, a navigator, a flight engineer, a mission crew commander and supervisor, a maintenance technician, a signals analyst and multiple cryptologic language analysts. Their tactics have changed alongside frequent upgrades from the secretive “Big Safari” program office. Compass Call has pivoted to jam the signals of booby-trapped enemy quadcopters that are used for surveillance and bombings, and cut off contact between members of groups like the Islamic State. An EC-130H Compass Call takes off from an airfield at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Jan. 18, 2017. The Compass Call was engaged in operations jamming Da’esh communications in order to confuse and disorient enemy fighters. (Capt. Casey Osborne/Air Force) As the military scrambled to evacuate Afghan and American citizens, and to pull out its own troops from Afghanistan in August, EC-130Hs flew overhead to ensure U.S. troops had the open lines of communication they needed. While the 41st EECS will no longer maintain a permanent presence in the UAE, Compass Call can still deploy on hacking and jamming missions in CENTCOM as needed. The Air Force is also bringing the 41st EECS home in the process of replacing the Compass Call fleet, which outfitted existing C-130 planes with electronic warfare equipment four decades ago. Five of 14 EC-130Hs have retired so far, and only half the fleet will remain as of next fall. They’re making way for the EC-37B, a smaller, modern jet intended to be more cost-efficient, reliable and faster than the current platform. L3Harris, in charge of integrating the new suite of EW systems onto the jet, and Gulfstream, whose G550 airframe will serve as the new Compass Call itself, plan to deliver the first planes to the Air Force in 2023. Looking ahead, squadron members are practicing for conflicts that will keep them on their toes. Instead of relying on the same brick-and-mortar installation as its home base overseas, as it has for decades, the 41st EECS recently tried its hand at a rapid evacuation and relocation drill for the first time. It’s part of the Air Force’s push to make units more flexible in case their installation is targeted, or to quickly leapfrog through a region during back-to-back sorties. Handling missions across multiple geographic regions requires a particularly close relationship between aircrews and maintainers on the ground to keep the aging planes aloft, the Air Force said. “We tried to make it as realistic as possible while ensuring both the flight crews and maintenance crew members were briefed and ready,” C-130H pilot Capt. Brittany Monio said in a December 2020 release. “Planning flights in such a quick manner is a large deviation from normal, but our crews executed very safely and effectively.”
  7. Harvest HAWK + reaches full operational capability Published: Sep 20, 2021 The Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207) KC-130J integrated product team successfully completed full operational capability. The 10th and final aircraft modified to the Harvest Hercules Airborne Weapons Kit (HAWK) Plus (HH+) configuration was delivered to the Fleet Marine Forces, Aug. 26. The aircraft modifications were part of the Marine Corps KC-130J Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) / Weapons Mission Kit program that began in 2015. The program improved the existing Marine Corp KC-130J Harvest HAWK system by integrating the MX-20 electro-optical/infra-red multi-sensor imaging system and adding door mounted missile employment capability. Harvest HAWK+ aircraft modifications began in 2015 with the first aircraft delivering in October 2015. NAVAIR’s aircraft prototype systems division at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. modified the first six aircraft while Sierra Nevada Corporation in Colorado Springs, Co. modified the last four aircraft. Five HH+ aircraft were delivered to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport (VMGR) 352 in Miramar, California and four aircraft to VMGR-252 in Cherry Point, North Carolina. One HH+ aircraft will remain at VX-20 in Patuxent River for Block 8.1 and future HH+ testing. “We are proud to provide the Marine Air-Ground Task Force with an updated intra-theater Close Air Support and Multi-Sensor Imagery Reconnaissance capability,” said Capt. Steve Nassau, PMA-207 program manager. “I couldn’t be prouder of my government and contractor team for delivering this critical weapon system to our warfighters.”
  8. The Spirit of Long Island (#0222, aka Triple Deuce) served in the New York Air National Guard from 1966 until 2019. On 18AUG2021, after several days of moving and assembly, Triple Deuce began a new job as gate guardian for F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base.
  9. Last C-130H rolls down the stretch at Kentucky Air Guard Photo By Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton LOUISVILLE, KY, UNITED STATES 09.24.2021 Story by Lt. Col. Allison Stephens The last C-130H aircraft assigned to the 123rd Airlift Wing departed the Kentucky Air National Guard Base here today for its new home at the Delaware Air Guard. On site to see it off were dozens of maintainers, aircrew and a former crew chief for the aircraft, which is named after Kentucky Derby winner Exterminator. Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Crosier was the plane’s dedicated crew chief for seven years, starting in 2001. He said its departure is bittersweet. “I’m glad it’s going to continue flying at another unit,” he said. “It’s a fine and beautiful aircraft.” Exterminator and seven of its stablemates are being replaced here with eight of the most modern C-130 variants, the J-model Super Hercules. The wing is expected to receive its first J-model in November. Crosier fondly recalls training many maintenance troops on Exterminator — known informally as tail number 1233 — and eventually promoting Master Sgt. Chris Knight to be its next dedicated crew chief. For more than 13 years, Knight worked every maintenance issue associated with the plane. “It’s a dream to get your own aircraft,” Knight said, “and this particular aircraft makes you earn it. You have to put the work in, but when it flies, it flies well.” Throughout 29 years of service with the Kentucky Air Guard, tail number 1233 logged 9,967 hours of flight time all over the world, supporting every kind of mission from humanitarian airlift to combat resupply operations. The plane’s current crew chief, Tech. Sgt. Ben Zeilman, has enjoyed his time working on the H-model, but he’s also looking forward to the future. “It’s exciting to welcome a new airframe and learn how to maintain the J-model,” he said. The Kentucky Air Guard began flying H-model aircraft in 1992. All eight of them are being transferred to the 166th Airlift Wing in New Castle, Delaware.
  10. Teaching the Commando new tricks By Staff Sgt. Brandon Esau, AFSOC Public Affairs / Published September 14, 2021 HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The C-130J is an incredibly versatile aircraft, and since it’s creation, it’s landed on rough fields, in arctic locations and even an aircraft carrier Yet, it cannot land on water, which covers about 71% of the planet. As national strategic objectives shift focus to littoral regions, Air Force Special Operations Command is advancing new approaches to expand the multi-mission platform's runway independence and expeditionary capacity. In partnership with the Air Force Research Lab's Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (AFRL-SDPE) directorate, AFSOC is developing an MC-130J Commando II Amphibious Capability (MAC) to improve the platform's support of seaborne special operations. "The development of the MAC capability is the culmination of multiple lines of effort," said Lt Col Josh Trantham, AFSOC Science, Systems, Technology, & Innovation (SST&I) Deputy Division Chief. "This capability allows the Air Force to increase placement and access for infiltration, exfiltration, and personnel recovery, as well as providing enhanced logistical capabilities for future competition and conflict." The development of a removable amphibious float modification for an MC-130J would enable "runway independent" operations, which, according to Trantham, would extend the global reach and survivability of the aircraft and Air Commandos. "Seaborne operations offer nearly unlimited water landing zones providing significant flexibility for the Joint Force," Trantham said. Utilizing the MAC capability may provide unlimited operational access to waterways to distribute forces if land assets are compromised. "MAC is vital to future success because it will allow for the dispersal of assets within a Joint Operations Area," said Maj Kristen Cepak, AFSOC Technology Transition Branch Chief. "This diaspora complicates targeting of the aircraft by our adversaries and limits aircraft vulnerability at fixed locations." A task force of industry partners are closely collaborating with AFSOC and AFRL-SDPE to bring the vision to life. A five-phase rapid prototyping schedule will lead to an operational capability demonstration in only 17 months while de-risking the concept for a future potential MAC program of record that could field MAC for MC-130Js but also potentially field a similar amphibious capability for other C-130 variants with only minor variations. AFSOC and private sector counterparts are currently testing MAC prototypes through digital design, virtual reality modeling (VR), and computer-aided designs (CAD) in a virtual setting known as the Digital Proving Ground (DPG), paving the way for digital simulation, testing, and the use of advanced manufacturing for rapid prototyping and physical prototype testing. According to Trantham and Cepak, the DPG can deliver mission review, aircraft system analysis, design ideation, engineering risk-reduction, virtual reality, concept imagery, feasibility studies, and other deliverables. "Being able to experiment with existing technology to evaluate design tradeoffs and test a new system before ever bending metal is a game-changer," Cepak said. "AFSOC is evolving and experimenting in a smart way to reduce technical risk and deliver capability to the field more rapidly and efficiently than before." According to Trantham, while the MAC project demonstrates rapid capability development for AFSOC, the Air Force and the Total Force will also benefit. "We believe MAC will be able to be used by our sister services, allies, and partners on various C-130 platforms," he said. "Further, expanding the operational use of an amphibious aircraft alongside other innovative tools will provide even more complex dilemmas in future battlespaces for our strategic competitors." View Original Article: Teaching the Commando new tricks > Air Force Special Operations Command > Article Display (af.mil)
  11. Teaching the Commando new tricks By Staff Sgt. Brandon Esau, AFSOC Public Affairs / Published September 14, 2021 HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The C-130J is an incredibly versatile aircraft, and since it’s creation, it’s landed on rough fields, in arctic locations and even an aircraft carrier Yet, it cannot land on water, which covers about 71% of the planet. As national strategic objectives shift focus to littoral regions, Air Force Special Operations Command is advancing new approaches to expand the multi-mission platform's runway independence and expeditionary capacity. In partnership with the Air Force Research Lab's Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (AFRL-SDPE) directorate, AFSOC is developing an MC-130J Commando II Amphibious Capability (MAC) to improve the platform's support of seaborne special operations. "The development of the MAC capability is the culmination of multiple lines of effort," said Lt Col Josh Trantham, AFSOC Science, Systems, Technology, & Innovation (SST&I) Deputy Division Chief. "This capability allows the Air Force to increase placement and access for infiltration, exfiltration, and personnel recovery, as well as providing enhanced logistical capabilities for future competition and conflict." The development of a removable amphibious float modification for an MC-130J would enable "runway independent" operations, which, according to Trantham, would extend the global reach and survivability of the aircraft and Air Commandos. "Seaborne operations offer nearly unlimited water landing zones providing significant flexibility for the Joint Force," Trantham said. Utilizing the MAC capability may provide unlimited operational access to waterways to distribute forces if land assets are compromised. "MAC is vital to future success because it will allow for the dispersal of assets within a Joint Operations Area," said Maj Kristen Cepak, AFSOC Technology Transition Branch Chief. "This diaspora complicates targeting of the aircraft by our adversaries and limits aircraft vulnerability at fixed locations." A task force of industry partners are closely collaborating with AFSOC and AFRL-SDPE to bring the vision to life. A five-phase rapid prototyping schedule will lead to an operational capability demonstration in only 17 months while de-risking the concept for a future potential MAC program of record that could field MAC for MC-130Js but also potentially field a similar amphibious capability for other C-130 variants with only minor variations. AFSOC and private sector counterparts are currently testing MAC prototypes through digital design, virtual reality modeling (VR), and computer-aided designs (CAD) in a virtual setting known as the Digital Proving Ground (DPG), paving the way for digital simulation, testing, and the use of advanced manufacturing for rapid prototyping and physical prototype testing. According to Trantham and Cepak, the DPG can deliver mission review, aircraft system analysis, design ideation, engineering risk-reduction, virtual reality, concept imagery, feasibility studies, and other deliverables. "Being able to experiment with existing technology to evaluate design tradeoffs and test a new system before ever bending metal is a game-changer," Cepak said. "AFSOC is evolving and experimenting in a smart way to reduce technical risk and deliver capability to the field more rapidly and efficiently than before." According to Trantham, while the MAC project demonstrates rapid capability development for AFSOC, the Air Force and the Total Force will also benefit. "We believe MAC will be able to be used by our sister services, allies, and partners on various C-130 platforms," he said. "Further, expanding the operational use of an amphibious aircraft alongside other innovative tools will provide even more complex dilemmas in future battlespaces for our strategic competitors." View Original Article: Teaching the Commando new tricks > Air Force Special Operations Command > Article Display (af.mil) View full article
  12. Teaching the Commando new tricks By Staff Sgt. Brandon Esau, AFSOC Public Affairs / Published September 14, 2021 HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The C-130J is an incredibly versatile aircraft, and since it’s creation, it’s landed on rough fields, in arctic locations and even an aircraft carrier Yet, it cannot land on water, which covers about 71% of the planet. As national strategic objectives shift focus to littoral regions, Air Force Special Operations Command is advancing new approaches to expand the multi-mission platform's runway independence and expeditionary capacity. In partnership with the Air Force Research Lab's Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (AFRL-SDPE) directorate, AFSOC is developing an MC-130J Commando II Amphibious Capability (MAC) to improve the platform's support of seaborne special operations. "The development of the MAC capability is the culmination of multiple lines of effort," said Lt Col Josh Trantham, AFSOC Science, Systems, Technology, & Innovation (SST&I) Deputy Division Chief. "This capability allows the Air Force to increase placement and access for infiltration, exfiltration, and personnel recovery, as well as providing enhanced logistical capabilities for future competition and conflict." The development of a removable amphibious float modification for an MC-130J would enable "runway independent" operations, which, according to Trantham, would extend the global reach and survivability of the aircraft and Air Commandos. "Seaborne operations offer nearly unlimited water landing zones providing significant flexibility for the Joint Force," Trantham said. Utilizing the MAC capability may provide unlimited operational access to waterways to distribute forces if land assets are compromised. "MAC is vital to future success because it will allow for the dispersal of assets within a Joint Operations Area," said Maj Kristen Cepak, AFSOC Technology Transition Branch Chief. "This diaspora complicates targeting of the aircraft by our adversaries and limits aircraft vulnerability at fixed locations." A task force of industry partners are closely collaborating with AFSOC and AFRL-SDPE to bring the vision to life. A five-phase rapid prototyping schedule will lead to an operational capability demonstration in only 17 months while de-risking the concept for a future potential MAC program of record that could field MAC for MC-130Js but also potentially field a similar amphibious capability for other C-130 variants with only minor variations. AFSOC and private sector counterparts are currently testing MAC prototypes through digital design, virtual reality modeling (VR), and computer-aided designs (CAD) in a virtual setting known as the Digital Proving Ground (DPG), paving the way for digital simulation, testing, and the use of advanced manufacturing for rapid prototyping and physical prototype testing. According to Trantham and Cepak, the DPG can deliver mission review, aircraft system analysis, design ideation, engineering risk-reduction, virtual reality, concept imagery, feasibility studies, and other deliverables. "Being able to experiment with existing technology to evaluate design tradeoffs and test a new system before ever bending metal is a game-changer," Cepak said. "AFSOC is evolving and experimenting in a smart way to reduce technical risk and deliver capability to the field more rapidly and efficiently than before." According to Trantham, while the MAC project demonstrates rapid capability development for AFSOC, the Air Force and the Total Force will also benefit. "We believe MAC will be able to be used by our sister services, allies, and partners on various C-130 platforms," he said. "Further, expanding the operational use of an amphibious aircraft alongside other innovative tools will provide even more complex dilemmas in future battlespaces for our strategic competitors." View Original Article: Teaching the Commando new tricks > Air Force Special Operations Command > Article Display (af.mil)
  13. After Afghanistan evacuation mission, UK air force still not reexamining plans to retire C-130 By Valerie Insinna Aug 30, 05:02 PM A British Royal Air Force Airbus A400M aircraft takes takes part in a flying display at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 18, 2018. (Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images) (AFP/Getty Images) WASHINGTON — The arduous airlift demands of the Afghanistan evacuation mission haven’t changed the U.K. Royal Air Force’s plans to retire its C-130s by 2030, its top officer said Aug. 27. “This is the first large-scale operation that we’ve done with our A400s, and it’s demonstrated that this is an aircraft with real potential and enormous capacity,” said RAF Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston in an interview with Defense News. “It flies much higher and much faster and carries a greater payload than the C-130. So as every month goes by, my confidence in that decision increases.” The RAF ultimately transported more than 15,000 people out of Kabul from Aug. 14 to Aug. 28, according to the U.K. ministry of defence. Wigston — who visited the United States last week to attend the Space Symposium — spoke to Defense News on Friday evening, during the last hours of the United Kingdom’s presence in Afghanistan. At that point, the Royal Air Force had evacuated about 8,500 Afghans, an estimated 4,500 U.K. passport or visa holders, and 1,500 people from other nations, Wigston said. About 500 to 1,000 others awaited the last RAF flights out of Kabul. “We have stopped taking in new people for processing,” he said. “Over the next few hours, those 500 to 1,000 [people] remaining will be taken out. At that stage, our evacuation operation will have come to an end, and we will just focus on getting our people out safely.” The RAF used about 15 aircraft during the evacuation mission, with half staged forward — transporting passengers from Kabul to other cities in the Middle East — and the other planes conducting flights from those cities to the United Kingdom, Wigston said. Over the two-week period, aircraft spotters frequently documented British C-17s, A400s and C-130s moving in and out of the airspace at Hamid Karzai International Airport. In March, the defence ministry announced as part of a command review it would retire the RAF’s remaining 14 C-130Js by 2023. “Twenty-two A400Ms, alongside the C17s, will provide a more capable and flexible transport fleet,” U.K. defence secretary Ben Wallace said then. Despite the C-130s offering additional airlift capacity, Wigston said there’s no need for the RAF to revisit its current retirement plans. “It will be with a heavy heart that we retire the C-130 in two years’ time because it’s been an absolute workhorse, but I have absolute confidence in the A400 and what that aircraft is able to do going forward,” he said. So far, Airbus has delivered 20 A400M Atlas aircraft to the RAF.
  14. Might be able to get some from RAF since they are divesting from C-130 and transitioning to A400M.
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