Air Mobility Command had to rush delivery of 21 parts from eight different stateside bases to Southwest Asia to repair 14 C-130 tactical airlifters damaged in microburst winds that turned the air brown with sand and rocks, according to SMSgt. Greg House, line chief with the 386th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. A damage assessment revealed 56 engines filled with sand and rocks, 25 aircraft windows shattered, and 14 damaged sensors, reports Roger Drinnon of AMC public affairs. The 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott AFB, Ill., orchestrated the delivery of the replacement parts with AMC’s Logistics Readiness Division and worked with in-theater mobility assets to cover the C-130 workload with a combination of C-17s and C-5s. The parts were in place within 84 hours and the C-130s returned to service within a matter of days.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.