Defense Bill Conference Report Includes C-130 Upgrades

VIENNA, Ohio — The Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act conference report includes an amendment by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown that makes C-130 upgrades a priority and strengthens the Youngstown Air Reserve Station and its mission capabilities, they say.

In a joint news release, the Ohio senators said the amendment directs the Air Force to report on how it will upgrade C-130J aircraft for special mission units like the 910th Airlift Wing that have special capabilities such as aerial spray, airborne firefighting and weather reconnaissance.

The conference report comes following months of negotiations between the Senate and House of Representatives. Portman and Brown have urged the Air Force to replace YARS’ 910th Airlift Wing’s fleet of C-130H aircraft with new C-130J aircrafts to ensure that the 910th’s Department of Defense-mandated specialized aerial spray mission continues safely and without interruption.

“The men and women of Youngstown Air Reserve Station perform an important and unique mission and it’s critical that the 910th has the most modern C-130 fleet possible to do their job,” Brown said. “The Air Force should prioritize these special mission wings when allocating aircraft. This language will benefit not just the Mahoning Valley, but all communities that benefit from the special mission at YARS.”

Modernizing the C-130s is critical for Youngstown and the state, Portman said. He called inclusion of the amendment “a victory for Youngstown” and said it would strengthen national defense capabilities.

“Prioritizing upgrades for new C-130 aircraft will help maintain and strengthen our special mission units like the 910th at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, which has become a model for other air reserve Stations throughout the country,” Portman said.

The modernization “will help ensure that YARS has the top-of-the-line capabilities needed to carry out their critically important national and homeland security missions,” he continued.

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