Defense Act includes legislation to prioritize C-130 upgrades

Staff report

WASHINGTON

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown announced Friday that President Barack Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes their legislation to prioritize C-130 upgrades for special mission units like the 910 Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

Specifically, the amendment will require the Air Force to report on how it will prioritize upgrades from C-130H aircraft to new C-130J models, which YARS, located in Vienna, needs for its special aerial spray mission.

Republican Portman and Democrat Brown have been urging the Air Force to replace the 910th Airlift Wing’s current fleet with the new C-130J to ensure the wing can complete its missions more safely and effectively.

The 910th is the Defense Department’s only large-area, fixed-wing aerial spray unit.

“The Youngstown Air Reserve Station is a model for other air reserve stations throughout the country,” Portman said in a news release Friday night.

“Our provision puts YARS is in a better position to receive upgraded aircraft,” he said.

Brown said in his news release, “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.

“We’ve been pushing for modernization of this fleet for years, and this law will call on the Air Force to get to work updating these aircraft so YARS can continue its critical missions,” Brown added.

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.

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