Wed, Mar 24, 2004
First C-130J Arrives For Active Duty
The US Air Force has welcomed its newest combat-ready aircraft.
The first C-130J Hercules assigned to an active-duty unit arrived
at the Little Rock Air Force Base on March 19. Little Rock AFB is
scheduled to have seven C-130Js by December 2005. The J model
represents a quantum leap forward in transport airlift technology,
bringing 40 percent greater performance over the current C-130,
Colonel Reheiser said. It can fly farther, faster, higher and
longer while carrying more equipment or people. Onboard computer
advances have allowed the removal of the flight engineer and the
navigator, making the J model less expensive to operate in terms of
man-hours. It can also carry heavier loads, more people and take
off or land on shorter runways than the previous models were
"We are proud to call Little Rock Air Force Base and central
Arkansas home of the United States Air Force’s first
active-duty C-130J," said Col. Joseph Reheiser, 314th Airlift Wing
commander. "We look forward to the challenge of training the
world’s finest C-130J aircrew members and maintainers for
years to come. The J model looks like a C-130 and it sounds like a
C-130, but in reality it is a totally new airplane."
Lt. Col. David Kasberg, 48th Airlift Squadron commander, flew
the new aircraft here from the Lockheed Martin production facility
at Dobbins Air Reserve Base (GA).
"This aircraft will give us the capability to train aircrews to
get the J in the fight,” Colonel Kasberg said. "And by
getting the J in the fight, we can provide relief to the C-130 E
and H crews who are out there in the desert right now."
The J model has a digital "brain" now, instead of the earlier
model’s analog instrumentation. If the aircraft experiences
an engine problem, the onboard computer identifies it and warns the
pilots and configures a solution. The J model is a more proficient
performer in the air, but its cost effectiveness and improved
design become even more evident when the plane is on the ground.
The digital aircraft allows real-time information to be shared
between the aircraft and the maintainers.
"The J model’s greatest asset to maintainers is the
portable maintenance aid,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Santiago of
the 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “The PMA is a small
diagnostic computer that allows a maintainer to digitally
‘ask’ the plane what is malfunctioning and get an
instantaneous and accurate response. Previously, when an aircraft
part malfunctioned the maintainer had to track a repair from a
symptom back to the faulty part and then fix the part. Now the PMA
tells the maintainer what is broken and where it is. That will save
us time and money."
ANN thanks USAF Senior Airman Jason Neal for this article.
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