YARS gets step closer to upgrading aircraft


Staff report

WASHINGTON, D.C.

The Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, headquarters for the 910th Airlift Wing, moved a critical step closer Thursday toward having its fleet of aging C-130 Hercules aircraft made a priority for modernization or being replaced by the newer C-130J planes.

U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the Senate passed the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the Ohio senators’ amendment to prioritize C-130 upgrades needed at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

The amendment will encourage the Air Force to act on these upgrades by requiring it to report on how it will prioritize upgrades from C-130H aircraft to new C-130J units, which YARS needs for its special mission, said Portman and Brown, who have urged the Air Force to replace the 910th’s current fleet with the new C-130J.

“Thursday’s vote marks real progress in our efforts to upgrade the C-130 aircraft at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which has become a model for other Air Reserve Stations throughout the country,” said Portman.

“C-130 modernization will enhance the 910th’s ability to carry out a range of important national and homeland security missions, including its unique aerial spray mission. Our amendment puts YARS in a better position to receive upgraded aircraft,” he said.

“These updates are key to maintaining Mahoning Valley jobs and supporting the ongoing missions performed by the men and women at Youngstown Air Reserve Station,” said Brown.

“When the Air Force makes decisions on what bases get upgrades, there needs to be a plan in place. This amendment shapes that strategy and will benefit the Youngstown Air Reserve Station when the time comes to allocate money for replacement C-130 aircraft. It’s a lengthy process and could take a couple of years to determine where the planes will go,” a Portman spokesperson said.

“The Mahoning Valley knows our workforce deserves these upgrades, and this language will encourage the Air Force to act swiftly to prioritize special missions like those performed by the Youngstown Air Reserve Station. This is the first step toward protecting local jobs at YARS. When the time comes to put the funding behind these upgrades, I’ll be ready to stand with Youngstown to seek the resources needed to keep the 910th flying,” Brown said.

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