A pair of LC-130 Skibirds from the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia joined Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft to provide airlift and reconnaissance support during Operation Nunalivut in the Arctic. This marks the first time that the wing is participating in the exercise, according to a release. “We see on the horizon the need for aircraft capabilities to meet Arctic taskings,” said Lt. Col. Clifford Souza of the 109th Operations Group. “We’re trying to get out ahead of it and demonstrate LC-130 capabilities. … We want to develop joint capabilities and interoperability with the Canadian Arctic Forces because they have a need to maintain an airlift reach throughout the high Arctic,” he added. The ski-equipped LC-130s are working alongside RCAF CC-138 Twin Otters to provision forward deployed forces in the vicinity of Resolute Bay in Canada’s far northern Nunavut territory, according to an RCAF release. This includes use of ice runways. The LC-130s began flights from Thule AB, Greenland, on April 11 as part of the exercise, which runs to May 3.
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.