The U.S. Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) is currently studying possible locations for four new AFRC C-130J aircraft recently approved by Congress.
“The inclusion of four new C-130Js in the fiscal 2020 Defense Appropriations Bill and National Defense Authorization Act is great news for the Air Force Reserve,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander and chief of the Air Force Reserve. “We are now conducting research and planning site visits in conjunction with the secretary of the Air Force to determine the best location for the new C-130Js.
“The command would like to prioritize our special mission units for C-130J recapitalization,” he said. “These missions will benefit most from the increased capability and long service life of the C-130J. But the Air Force corporate process will ultimately determine where the aircraft will best be needed.”
The Reserve’s special mission units include the 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, and the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
The 910th AW is home to the Defense Department’s only large area fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease-carrying insects, pest insects, undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water. The 302nd AW is the Reserve’s only wing with the special mission of aerial firefighting employing the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS).
AFRC is coordinating site surveys for Youngstown in January and Peterson in February to look at facility feasibility and cost factors. Once the site survey visits are completed, AFRC will provide its results to the Air Force for review, validation and endorsement.
The current expectation for delivery of the new C-130Js is in 2023.
The J-model C-130 features upgraded technology not found on older model C-130s, including improved turboprop engines, propellers and digital avionics. The J-model has greater range, higher maximum speed and shorter takeoff and landing distances than previous C-130 models.
By Bo Joyner, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command