The Nevada Air National Guard’s 152nd Airlift Wing is upgrading its entire fleet of C-130 Hercules for the second time since it took on the mission in 1996. The wing should receive all six of the C-130 H3 models and two H2.5 models by early 2016, according to a release. The aircraft will be about 10 years newer than the C-130 H2 models the wing flies now, will have about 10,000 fewer flight hours, upgraded engines, and digital flight instruments and fuel gauges, states the release. “It is a significant upgrade and it should help increase mission capability with more reliable equipment,” said wing commander Col. Karl Stark. The older Herc models had analog instruments. Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke told House legislators in March that upgrading legacy C-130Hs to comply with Federal Aviation Administration requirements that would allow them to operate in US and international airspace beyond 2020 is “absolutely priority one.” The ANG operates about 40 percent of the Air Force’s C-130 fleet, states the release.
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.