Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) is on a quest to prevent the Delaware Air National Guard’s C-130 Hercules from being permanently grounded, which he warns would “mean the end” of the state Guard’s flying mission. Carney is urgently seeking to gain passage in the few days left in this congressional session of his bill to fund the minimal avionics modernization necessary to keep the Delaware Air Guard’s eight C-130Hs flying. Those aged Hercules in the 166th Airlift Wing at the New Castle Air National Guard Base are among the Air Force’s 261 C-130Hs, which would be unable to fly in US or international airspace after 2020 without the required digital navigation and air traffic control systems. Most of those H-models are in the Air Guard in 18 states. The Air Force could meet the digital systems requirement by replacing the C-130Hs with the new C-130J Super Hercules, or upgrading the systems in the old aircraft. Carney said he understands that given the current budget constraints, it is unlikely the Air Force could afford the $664 million each for C-130Js, or even the $131.2 million for a full digital upgrade for each C-130H. Instead, he is proposing a minimal modernization costing $2.5 million each. (Carney release)
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.