Fielding the C-27J transport is significant for the Air National Guard because it represents the first time that a new airframe will be “solely owned, operated, and maintained” by Air Guard aircrews, says Lt. Col. Chris Beckman, ANG aviation planning and execution chief. The Air Guard will acquire 38 C-27Js under current planning. They are expected to deploy for the first time to Southwest Asia in about one year. Air Guardsmen from the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, Ohio, and the 175th Wing in Baltimore will be the first to be trained on the C-27J and deploy with it. The first 24 C-27Js will go to Baltimore and Mansfield and to units in Connecticut, Michigan, Mississippi, and North Dakota. The Air Guard is still determining the beddown locations for the remaining 14 aircraft. (NGB report by Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.