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Air Force, Navy Officials Push for C-130 Aircraft Operating Capability Modernization

U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy officials have said steps are being undertaken for the immediate modernization of the Lockheed Martin-built C-130 Hercules, DOD News reported Friday.

Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, told a House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower and projection forces that C-130 accidents are influenced by a delay in the implementation of modernization programs concerning the aircraft.

"During this period, we prioritized safety, and then compliance, when it comes to operating, maintaining and sustaining all of our capabilities," Harris said.

"Readiness, lethality and cost-effective modernization efforts [guide] our plans," he added.

Lt. Gen. Donald Kirkland, commander of the Air Force sustainment center, said reviews to assess the operational capabilities of the C-130 are underway and that maintenance operations will be done by fiscal year 2022. 

Navy Rear Adm. Scott Conn, director of air warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, said the service branch leverages its Navy Unique Fleet Essential Airlift aircraft, which comprise of 24 C-130T Hercules and 15 C-40 aircraft, to provide air logistics support to naval combat operations.

Conn noted the Navy completed the acquisition of the C-130Ts in 1996 and is mulling allocation of funds in the FY 2019 budget to procure three aircraft in FY 2023.
 

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