The new aircraft will eventually replace the unit’s existing C-130H fleet, which has been in service for nearly 30 years. The transition is part of an Air Force-wide effort to modernize the entire active duty C-130 fleet. It effectively closes a strong chapter in airlift history, as the H model has been in active duty service since 1974.
Maj. Gen. Mark Dillon, PACAF vice commander, along with Col. Kenneth Moss, 374th AW commander, accompanied the aircraft on the final leg of its journey from Kadena Air Base, Japan. Upon landing, Japanese and American audience got a firsthand look at the future of tactical airlift in the region.
“I’m very excited about us receiving the aircraft because it allows us to do a lot more around the Pacific,” said Senior Airman Alex Lauher, 374th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. “It’s a step toward the future. It enables us to better help with things like humanitarian missions by carrying more food, water and supplies to those areas.”
The C-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology to reduce manpower requirements, lower operating and support costs, and provide life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models. Compared to older C-130s, the J model climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance.
Yokota’s C-130s will also be 15 feet longer, increasing usable space and providing the ability to rapidly transport critical supplies, personnel and equipment around the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Much like its H-model older brother, the C-130J will be used to support critical peacekeeping and contingency operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, including cargo delivery, troop transport, airdrop and aeromedical missions. The aircraft provides significant performance improvements and added operational capabilities that translate directly into increased effectiveness. Some of these attributes include the ability to:
Operate out of 2,000 ft.-long dirt strips in high mountain ranges.
Carry 164,000 pound payload
Travel 14% faster than the H-model
Travel 2000 miles
Perform in-flight refueling, ground fueling, weather reconnaissance, electronic warfare, medical evacuation, search and rescue, paradrop, special operations and many other missions.
Generate much greater operational efficiencies. The C-130J outperforms older C-130s in combat operations by at least a two-to-one margin.
Operate with only three crew members for most missions, exposing fewer flight crew members to potential combat threats.
Demonstrate reliability that far exceeds most other military aircraft with average mission capable rates routinely in the 80 to 90 percent range.
While this is only the first of the new J-model aircraft to arrive at Yokota, members of the 374th AW are already excited about continuing the mission with the new capabilities.
“Today marks the beginning of the transition for the 374th Airlift Wing, from operating the C-130 from models E through H, to now operating the world’s most advanced tactical airlifter, the C-130J,” Moss said. “We will continue to be the most important base in the Pacific for projecting airpower throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific Region and the C-130J is going to be key to that piece. It is part of what we do every day.”
Story by By Staff Sgt. David Owsianka, 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs; Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Michael Smith and Staff Sgt. David Owsianka / U.S. Air Force
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