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Letter to the Honorable James Jackson, Lieutenant General of the U.S. Air Force - Urging Air Force to Upgrade C130s

Letter

Lt Gen James Jackson
Headquarters USAF/RE
1150 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1150

Dear Lt Gen Jackson:

We urge you to replace the Youngstown Air Reserve Station's 910th Airlift Wing's current fleet of C-130H aircraft with a minimum of ten C-130J aircraft to ensure that the 910th's Department of Defense (DoD)-mandated specialized aerial spray mission continues safely and without interruption. The Fiscal Year 2016 House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Report includes language regarding the Air Force Reserve's specialized missions, specifically that: "The Committee encourages the Chief of the Air Force Reserve to review the requirements to ensure that specialized units are allocated sufficient training hours to successfully perform both their specialized and tactical missions and are allocated equipment upgrades necessary to address safety concerns associated with these missions. The Committee also supports efforts to build partnerships between units performing specialized missions and other government agencies when practical."

The current number of eight C-130H aircraft jeopardizes the 910th's capability to effectively complete overseas tactical airlift missions and domestic aerial spray operations simultaneously. To highlight the dilemma: if, in the immediate future, the 910th were tasked to deploy four aircraft to support an overseas area of responsibility, they would only be able to support a one-ship spray mission in the United States. As we are sure you're aware, within the last decade, the 910th has deployed a three C-130H aircraft package in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and again in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 to provide domestic emergency aerial spray capability. Recapitalizing the 910th's fleet of eight C-130H aircraft with ten C-130J aircraft would enable the wing to conduct both the overseas tactical airlift missions and the homeland aerial spray missions.

The unique aerial spray mission could also be in jeopardy after year 2020 due to several factors. The 910th's airplanes require more maintenance due to the wear and tear cause by flying the specialized mission at low altitudes. In addition, an Operational Supplement, published 17 July 2015, significantly reduced the interval between Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) inspections based on Effective Flying Hour (EFH) calculations. The reduction in EFH interval will lead to an increase of approximately double the inspection time spent per aircraft. The additional hurdle to ensure that the current C-130H fleet is airworthy, is the much needed Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) requirements required by the Federal Aviation Administration and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

As we continue to put more flight hours on the current fleet of aging C-130H aircraft, the inspection interval will continue to shorten, increasing the maintenance time and decreasing mission readiness. The C-130J models have a minimum crew size of three versus the legacy C-130H models' crew of five, which would mean immediate personnel savings to operate the system, in addition to possible maintenance hours.

For these reasons, we request your consideration for recapitalization of the 910th Airlift Wing's current fleet of C-130Hs with C-130Js at the soonest possible time, to ensure their continued and safe support of DoD's only aerial spray mission.

Thank you for your consideration of our request. We look forward to working with you in this endeavor.

Sincerely,

Sherrod Brown
United States Senator

Rob Portman
United States Senator

Tim Ryan
Member of Congress

Bill Johnson
Member of Congress

David Joyce
Member of Congress


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