Super Growth

One of the numbers from the Department of Defense’s recently released selected acquisition report hasn’t been disseminated very much—the growth of the official program of record for the Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules transport from 82 to 134 airframes. Program costs increased about $3.9 billion in the last quarter of 2007—about 49 percent—due primarily to the quantity increase of the 52 aircraft, according to the SAR. The Air Force’s official response to the Daily Report is that the program of record indeed now stands at 134 C-130Js, of which 117 are combat-delivery models, 10 are WC-130Js for weather monitoring, and seven are EC-130J Commando Solo psychological operations aircraft. The 134 number does include 32 C-130Js that USAF plans to purchase at rates of eight per year from Fiscal 2010 to Fiscal 2013 to replace older E-model C-130s, the Air Force says. But the 134 total does not include any new modified C-130Js to replace aged MC-130s or HC-130s used with special operations forces and combat-search-and-rescue units, respectively. From Fiscal 2010 through Fiscal 2013, the Air Force intends to buy four HC-130 replacements and four MC-130 successors annually under a separate budget line, according to the service’s Fiscal 2009 budget submission. Some questions about the C-130J program remain since, as recently as earlier this month, the Air Force leadership testified on Capitol Hill that Air Mobility Command’s stated requirement is 125 combat-coded C-130Js, as opposed to the 117 on record.