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Defense act gives Vienna air base a boost

Portman-Brown effort prioritizes C-130 upgrades

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Staff report


The Youngstown Air Reserve Station and its 910th Airlift Wing received a boost for the future via an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act crafted by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

The NDAA conference report, released Wednesday after months of negotiations between the House and Senate, includes the senators’ amendment to prioritize C-130 upgrades, thereby strengthening YARS and its special-mission capabilities.

Specifically, the amendment directs the Air Force to report on how it will prioritize upgrades to new C-130J aircraft for special-mission units like the 910th at YARS, which has special capabilities such as aerial spray, airborne firefighting and weather reconnaissance.

Portman, a Republican of Terrace Park near Cincinnati, and Brown, D-Cleveland, have been urging the Air Force to replace the 910th’s aging fleet of C-130H aircraft with new C-130J aircraft to ensure that the 910th’s Department of Defense-mandated specialized aerial-spray mission continues safely and without interruption.

“This is a victory for Youngstown and strengthens our national defense capabilities,” Portman said in a news release. “Prioritizing upgrades for new C-130 aircraft will help maintain and strengthen our special-mission units like the 910th at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which has become a model for other air reserve stations throughout the country.

“C-130 modernization is critical for Youngstown and Ohio, and I am pleased that the legislation has been included in the NDAA conference report.”

“The men and women of Youngstown Air Reserve Station perform an important and unique mission, and it’s critical that the 910th has the most modern C-130 fleet possible to do their job,” Brown said in a news release.

“The Air Force should prioritize these special-mission wings when allocating aircraft. This language will benefit not just the Mahoning Valley, but all communities that benefit from the special mission at YARS,” Brown said.

Air Force Col. James Dignan, immediate past commander of the 910th and the YARS installation, said previously, “To survive, YARS and the 910th have to stay viable and be prepared to fly the next mission wherever it takes us. One hugely important way to increase monetary and military efficiency would be to replace the 910th’s C-130Hs, built in 1989 and 1990, with the new C-130J.”

The C-130J, a comprehensive update of the C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck and other systems, incorporates state-of-the-art technology that cuts in half the manpower needed to fly it, has lower operating and support costs, and provides life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models.