The Air National Guard is on track to meet the FAA’s 2020 deadline for the first phase of the Avionics Modernization Program upgrade in its legacy C-130Hs by “two or three months, Maj. Gen. Brian Neal, acting director of the Air National Guard, told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on March 16. And though the ANG plans “not to fail,” there are “work arounds” if the deadline is breached, Neal said. Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. James Jackson told the subcommittee that despite budget pressure, modernization and recapitalization of weapons systems “must remain a top priority.” Maintenance and corrosion issues in HC-130s used for personnel recovery in combat search and rescue missions “provides a stark reminder of what is at stake when we fail to recapitalize aging fleets in a timely manner,” he said. The Air Force is facing capability and capacity gaps, Jackson said, but the Reserve must continue to modernize its legacy F-16, KC-135s, and C-130Hs to “remain operationally relevant and fully mission capable.” (See also: Legacy C-130s Ready to Re-AMP.) (Neal prepared testimony.)
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness revised the Defense Department’s COVID-19 guidelines. The new rules clarify what’s meant by being “up to date” on vaccinations and when personnel must wear masks in vehicles, among other changes.