The beginning of an era for Robins
Air Force Base and the warfighters of Air Force Special Operations
Command was marked June 28 as the first-of-its-kind MC-130W was
presented to Lt. Gen. Michael W. Wooley, AFSOC commander, in a
ceremony at Robins Air Force Base, Ga..
"A lot of work went into this aircraft," said Maj. Gen. Michael
A. Collings, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander.
"Sweat, hard work and brains brought about this large initiative
in support of the global war on terror. My challenge is that the
need for these aircraft is today, and I challenge our own people to
turn out these aircraft in 150 days or less."
General Wooley praised the effort.
"I want to focus on the folks who have grease under their
fingernails," he said. "You are the warriors. The speed at which
this was put together is indicative of the people here at Robins.
Yours is truly a warrior attitude in taking airplanes, keeping flow
days down, and giving us the aircraft we so desperately need."
General Wooley said that this aircraft and the ones that follow
will be put to good use.
The highly modified C-130, the first of a dozen such modified
aircraft, will replace combat losses experienced over time by
special operations aviators. Four MC-130H aircraft and one MC-130P
have been lost in the war on terrorism. The new aircraft will be
able to accomplish many of the same missions as the previous ones,
plus they have the ability to air-to-air refuel special operations
helicopters, according to Scot Pirc, combat loss replacement
program manager with the 572nd Aircraft Sustainment Squadron.
"This aircraft, and the ones that follow, will be able to
perform infiltration, exfiltration and helicopter refueling
missions, as well as resupply special operations forces," Mr. Pirc
said. He said the new aircraft also will be able to help train
AFSOC crews in the air refueling mission.
According to Mr. Pirc, the program modifies C-130H aircraft from
the 1987 to 1990 year group, which is the same time period as the
Combat Talon fleet currently in AFSOC service. Modifications
include a basic electronic warfare capability to avoid potential
threats, ability to work in special light conditions and
strengthening of the tail.
Perhaps most importantly, the aircraft is equipped with air
refueling pods for in-flight refueling of Special Operations Forces
aircraft and combat search and rescue helicopters. The aircraft can
also take fuel from other refueling aircraft.
"This is a partnership between the program office of the 572nd
ACSS, the 402nd Maintenance Wing, and the contractor, TCS Design
and Management," Mr. Pirc said. The 402nd MXW performed the
modifications, while TCS did the engineering.
"All three partners have worked very hard on this project, and
we're all very excited," Mr. Pirc said. "Every step of the way we
kept in mind who this aircraft was meant for, and we're sure the
warfighter will be happy with the result." [ANN Salutes Damian
Housman, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Public Affairs]