December 9, 2023

Portman and Members of the Ohio Delegation Urge Air Force to Upgrade C-130s at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station

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ChemTrailPress Release from U.S. Senator Rob Portman:

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) was joined by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), and Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) in urging the United States Air Force to replace the Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s (YARS) 910th Airlift Wing’s current fleet of C-130H aircraft with new C-130J aircrafts to ensure that the 910th’s Department of Defense (DoD)-mandated specialized aerial spray mission continues safely and without interruption.

“The Youngstown Air Reserve Station has become a model for other Air Reserve Stations throughout the country, but if we want to maintain this level of high performance, we must upgrade the aircraft at the base,”Portman stated. “I am proud of my strong record of support for C-130 modernization and will continue to work to ensure they have the capabilities needed to carry out their critically important operations.”

“Bringing in C-130Js to modernize the C-130 fleet at YARS will help strengthen our lines of defense and maintain jobs in Mahoning County,” said Brown. “This fleet carries out critical emergency missions and keeps our nation secure. It’s time to replace these aircraft to meet the unique mission at YARS.”

“I am proud to support the important mission and outstand work being done at the Youngstown Ari Reserve Station – and I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that long term investments are being made at YARS,” said Ryan. “Each and every day, the men and women stationed in Youngstown put their lives on the line for our safety and it is our job to give them the resources they need.”

“It is critically important that we maintain the C-130 missions carried out by the Ohio Air National Guard units across Ohio,” said Johnson. “The Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS), in particular, plays an important role in America’s national security capability, and provides jobs vital to the Mahoning Valley. I’ll continue working with my Ohio colleagues to do everything in our power to make sure the YARS has the necessary resources to continue carrying out its important missions.”

“It is now, more than ever, critical that we provide our military with the resources they need to protect us and defend our country,” said Joyce. “This starts with modernizing the C-130 by making sure the men and women stationed at YARS have the equipment and tools necessary to respond to emergencies that arise.”

The full letter can be found below.

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.