Special operations aircrew from Kadena AB, Japan, deployed a large, rigid-inflatable boat from an MC-130J Commando II over the Pacific Ocean for the first time in an exercise last month. The simultaneous, formation Maritime Craft Aerial Delivery System drop with the legacy MC-130H Combat Talon II also tested interoperability between the two types. “Our ability to execute this mission on either MC-130 aircraft exponentially expands the maritime intercept capabilities throughout the Pacific theater,” 353rd Special Operations Group Commander Col. William Freeman explained in a release, Oct. 6. Since Kadena’s squadrons operate both the legacy MC-130H and the MC-130J that will eventually replace it, “it is essential that both units learn from each other and train together,” said 17th Special Operations Squadron ops director Lt. Col. Matthew Bartlett. Kadena’s 17th SOS received its first MC-130J last December, phasing out its last MC-130P Combat Shadow in April.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.