Ryan Secures Funding for Additional C-130s

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13, announced this morning that he’s secured more than $429 million through the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee toward the purchase of four C-130J Super Hercules aircraft designated for the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

The appropriations are important to the Mahoning Valley because the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna is one of two finalists to receive the new aircraft, the congressman said.

Ryan, vice chairman of the subcommittee, said during a video conference call with reporters that the allocations are in addition to more than $343 million he’s secured in recent years for another four C-130Js.

“These eight aircraft will allow the Air Force to complete its strategic basing process, and YARS is one of the two finalists,” the congressman said.

The air reserve station is the largest employer in Trumbull County and is the third largest in Mahoning County, Ryan said, underscoring the important impact YARS has on the local economy.

The funding is included in the Appropriations Committee’s defense spending for fiscal year 2022, Ryan said. The spending bill will now move to the full U.S. House of Representatives for approval before advancing to the Senate.

“We’re really excited about the possibility of getting the recapitalization of our older H-model C-130s,” said Col. Jeff Van Dootingh, 910th Airlift Wing and YARS installation commander.

Dootingh said the 910th, which is stationed at YARS, serves as the only mission with fixed-wing aerial spray capability in the defense department. In addition, the unit performs weather reconnaissance and helps combat wildfires in the west.

The new aircraft would allow for more capability for the 910th and ensure the air base’s viability for the future, Dootingh said. “It makes sure that the mission can continue long into the future because we’ll have new aircraft that have a longer life.”

Ryan said that the Air Force was holding off on a decision on awarding the new planes until there were appropriations in place for eight new aircraft. “We got the final four that we need. Now, the Air Force Reserve can go out and do the final analysis on who is going to land these new eight C-130Js,” he said. “This appropriation allows that process to move forward.”

The congressman will continue to press the Air Force on making a decision as quickly as possible once the funding is in place. “I feel really good about it,” he said, noting that he’s hoping a decision could be reached as early as this fall. “We believe that this process should be wrapping up soon.”

Additional monies would also be needed in next year’s budget that would appropriate construction activity at the base to accommodate the new aircraft if the awarded to YARS, Ryan said.

“This is all part of the broader process that we’ve went through over the last 10 or 15 years to secure the base,” he said. Two weeks ago, the congressman announced appropriations totaling $8.7 million toward widening the assault strip runway at YARS.

“This really establishes YARS’ long-term viability and preserving its economic impact,” Ryan said.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.