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C-130's Re-Amping Up

Delaware C-130H Aircraft

One of Delaware's C-130H aircraft during an airdrop training exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by (retired) Tech. Sgt. Robin Meredith, released)

New Castle, Del. -- Delaware C-130's are ready to Re-AMP.

The Mission, Manpower, and the C-130H Modernization of the Delaware Air National Guard has been at the forefront of Wing leadership.

The Del. ANG is in need of crucial upgrades that needs to be done if it is going to stay relevant in flying global missions after 2020.

Delaware ANG leadership recently received the news that funding has been approved and slated by Congress to upgrade the Delaware ANG's navigational systems and cockpits in eight 1980's era C-130H2 cargo aircraft.

With this approved funding for upgrades, the Del. ANG is closer to securing future global missions and maintaining manpower strength.

The National Defense Authorization Act and defense appropriations that allow for C-130 modernization was signed into law in December 2015.

The Delaware Air National Guard can start breathing easier because future funding has been authorized by law, even if all eight C-130's are not upgraded with the $75 million initially made available, funding is slated for C-130H upgrades by 2020.

"These upgrades allow our C-130's to remain relevant, reliable, efficient and cost effective, said Colonel Don Bevis, commander, 166th Airlift Wing. "These upgrades ultimately benefits
our local community, our tax payers, by being able to give local support and meet requirements for global missions."

The Air Force is modernizing the C-130H fleet through a multi-phased approach:

First, is to meet the 2020 U.S. and foreign air traffic mandates through the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), Increment One.

Increment One includes modifying legacy C-130H's with upgraded radios, enhanced automatic dependent surveillance, updated cockpit voice recorders, digital flight data recorder; retains traffic collision avoidance system. Increment One will cost less than
one million dollars per aircraft for all 172 C-130H models in the Air National Guard.

Second, accelerate the fleet's avionics modernization via AMP Increment Two, to be completed in 2028. Increment Two includes modernizing legacy C-130H and LC-130H aircraft with new avionics suite, enhanced communication, and electrical improvements to enhance aircraft maintainability and reliability.

Third, to install upgraded engines and propulsion systems for the legacy C-130 fleet. Upgrading the T-56 engine with a 3.5 engine modification will increase life cycle, fuel economy, reduce takeoff distance and increase cargo load. The ANG is also scheduled to replace the current four-bladed propellers with eight bladed NP 2000 props to increase fuel efficiency, thrust and decrease maintenance time.

In conjunction to implementing Increment One and Two the AF is also carrying out other modification efforts to include the center wing box replacement and installing upgraded engine and propulsion systems. Replacements are needed due to expired service life of center wing boxes.

And lastly, the ANG hopes to increase procurement of C-130J's. What this means is to maintain parity with the Active AF component.

This multi-phased road-map ensures C-130H fleet remains safe, relevant, compliant and modern. Without these key modernization programs, Delaware's C-130's would eventually not be allowed to fly in U.S., European or Asian airspace beginning in 2020 unless those system upgrades are installed.

This year alone the Delaware ANG deployed over 300 Airmen and four C-130H aircraft to various locations throughout the Middle East.

"I am grateful to everyone in the Delaware National Guard and Delaware Congressional Delegates who invested numerous man-hours at Capitol Hill fighting for the much needed funding for our C-130 fleet," said Bevis. Delaware Congressional Delegates, included U.S. Congressman John Carney, Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons.

"The schedule to upgrade our Delaware C-130's is being developed but it is not set in stone, however the AMP schedule is tight and aggressive," said 166th Airlift Wing, Operations Group Commander, Colonel Robert Culcasi.

These much needed upgrades support the mission of the 166th Airlift Wing, which has over 1,100 men and women at the Delaware Air National Guard Base. The 166th AW provides tactical airlift and airdrop of troops and cargo using C-130H2 aircraft, plus aeromedical evacuation, civil engineer and network warfare functions.