AMP Deal Weeks Away

Negotiations continue between Congress and the Air Force on how to proceed—or not—with the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, or AMP, but a deal is expected next month, said Lt. Gen. James Holmes, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs. In an interview with Air Force Magazine Thursday, Holmes said Congress is “of two minds” regarding how to upgrade the C-130. “The Senate is probably more inclined to [do the] AMP, the House has more flexibility” to do a lesser program called the Viability and Airspace Access Program, or VAAP, he said. The VAAP—in two increments—would make the C-130 compliant with national and international airspace requirements, but would be less involved and costly than the full AMP, which USAF cancelled two years ago because of sequester. Holmes’ staff will brief Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh “next week” on the options, and “tee up” a pitch to Congress the week after that. If Congress insists on the AMP, it might have to be funded from USAF’s base budget, or Congress could fund it “through the Air National Guard” equipment accounts. The Fiscal 2015 defense authorization demanded USAF carry out the AMP or take a 15-?percent penalty in operations and maintenance funding. Holmes said congressional staffers tell him the cut would affect “the Secretary of the Air Force … her travel” and immediate staff, not the Air Force Secretariat or wider Air Force fleet, “but we’re still working that out.”