Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and U.S. Representatives Dina Titus (D-Nev.-01), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.-02), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.-04), and Susie Lee (D-Nev.-03) joined Governor Steve Sisolak in an appeal to Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett to consider transitioning the Nevada Air National Guard’s (NVANG) 152nd Airlift Wing (152d AW) to the C-130J aircraft during fiscal year 2020. In a letter to Barrett, the governor and members of Congress highlighted the logistical, operational, and financial advantages of transitioning the 152nd Airlift Wing to this state-of-the-art military transport aircraft.
“The NVANG is strategically aligned with the National Guard Bureau’s priorities of readiness, people, and innovation. A commitment to these priorities within the state has positioned the 152nd AW to convert to C-130J models with minimal cost and challenges. This course of action would also yield timely and important benefits for readiness, lethality, and greatly improved Domestic Operations,” wrote Sisolak and the members of Congress.
Specifically, Governor Sisolak and the Nevada delegation point to the following benefits of transitioning the 152nd Airlift Wing to C-130Js:
- Nevada Air National Guard’s cutting edge facilities and infrastructure;
- 152nd Airlift Wing’s familiarity with C-130 aircraft and ability to fly in challenging environments and climates;
- Improved disaster preparedness and response;
- Flexibility to support U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) operations;
- Improved ability to secure the homeland and support INDO-PACOM partner states;
- Nearly $430,000 in taxpayer savings.
Full text of the letter can be found here and below:
Dear Secretary Barrett:
As the Air Force and Air National Guard fields the new C-130J aircraft in the coming months, we urge you to consider transitioning the Nevada Air National Guard’s (NVANG) 152nd Airlift Wing (AW) to C-130Js in fiscal year (FY) 2020. We believe the 52nd AW in Reno, Nevada is ideally suited to transition to C-130Js. The NVANG is strategically aligned with the National Guard Bureau’s priorities of readiness, people and innovation. A commitment to these priorities within the state has positioned the 152nd AW to convert to C-130J models with minimal cost and challenges. This course of action would also yield timely and important benefits for readiness, lethality, and greatly improved Domestic Operations (DOMOPS).
The 152nd AW has operated C-130H aircraft for nearly a quarter century since its conversion from RF-4C jets in 1996. During this time, the 152nd AW flew C-130s on every continent whether deployments abroad in support of the federal government or domestic response missions saving lives and property. The 152nd AW’s infrastructure is second-to-none in the Air National Guard. In 2018, an $11 million Operations Building was completed at the base. This state-of-the-art facility provides the foundation to propel 152 AW flying operations into the 21st century. Additionally, in the last 15 years the 152nd AW has constructed or remodeled eight buildings for all support organizations vital to mission execution. The 152nd AW facilities are configured to support the C-130J model. The ramp currently fits seven C-130J’s, the main hangar fits one C-130J and the fuel cell hangar would need minimal modification (10-foot extension) minimizing the equipment for excessive Military Construction costs.
Currently the NVANG’s 152nd AW flies its legacy C-130s in some of the hottest temperatures, highest elevations, and in the most challenging mountainous environments than any other C-130 unit. The increased performance, as well as increased longevity the C-130J provides, directly impacts the DOMOPS missions flying the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) in support of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), as well as increased cost savings, and greatly improved safety while operating in mountainous terrain. The MAFFS mission is critical to protecting our homeland and our critical infrastructure. Placing the C-130J at the 152nd AW would increase the flexibility for the USFS, Bureau of Land Management, CAL FIRE, and greatly enhance the interoperability with the 146th Airlift Wing (AW) in Channel Islands, California, which is the only MAFFS unit currently flying the C-130J aircraft. Furthermore, an all C-130J MAFFS fleet would streamline logistics and operations for all agencies that MAFFS supports.
Flying the C-130J for a MAFFS federal or state activation is more cost effective than the legacy C-130H. The 2019 figure for C-130J Operations and Maintenance (O&M) is $6,290 per flight hour, while the O&M for the C-130H is $8,967 per flight hour. On average, 70 hours are flown per aircraft per fire season, which equates to a savings of $187,390 per C-130J aircraft. Additionally, there are two fewer crew members required per aircraft, which equates to an average savings of $900 per day. A typical firefighting activation is 30 days per year, so this cost savings is roughly $27,000 in personnel savings per plane per fire season. When you add up O&M and personnel savings for two 152nd AW-operated MAFFS units, this equates to nearly $430,000 in annual taxpayer savings.
The 152nd AW is strategically placed to respond to any emergency management tasking. Specifically, basing a J-Model with the 152nd AW’s Joint Incident Site Communication Capability (JISCC) will decrease the requirement from two C-130H models to one C-130J model to deploy the JISCC. The 152nd AW is the pilot unit for the JISCC, a communication bridge to first responders during emergencies. This requires the wing to travel more often, maintain a heightened state of readiness, and establish aircraft load plans, weights, and measurements for the ANG. A J-Model collocated with this DOMOPS capability would come with a cost savings by operating one less aircraft to deploy the JISCC, and guarantee a more agile capability for the State of Nevada and the nation.
The C-130J affords an increase in safety for MAFFS employment and Reno home station operations. The redesigned engines and propellers vastly increase the climb performance over the older C-130H. This dramatically increases safety when flying low to the ground in mountainous terrain for a MAFFS fire retardant airdrop. Also, Reno Tahoe International Airport has a field elevation of 4,415 feet, much higher than other units, which drastically reduces aircraft performance. An increase in performance, such as that of the C-130J, especially during the hot summer months, vastly increases the amount of cargo and personnel the 152nd can take off with at home station. The C-130J basing for the NVANG will ensure that interagency requirements are met with the latest technology for emergency management and DOMOPS, increase safety for the 152nd AW during MAFFS and home station missions, and ensure a cost savings to the taxpayers well into the future.
Additionally, the Nevada National Guard maintains a State Partnership Program with two nations strategically located in the South Pacific: Tonga, and Fiji. With a conversion to C-130Js, the NVANG can better and more efficiently fight America’s wars, secure the homeland and sustain our two state partners supporting INDO-PACOM. The NVANG is the right choice to convert to C-130J’s. The 152nd AW’s proven record of mission execution, base infrastructure, location, ability to recruit/retain and the importance of providing synergy and interoperability with other MAFFS units strategically aligns with the National Guard Bureau’s priorities and the National Defense Strategy.
For these reasons, we respectfully encourage you to consider transitioning the NVANG’s 152nd AW to C-130J aircraft in FY 2020. We know you have many demands on your time, but we ask you to give this proposal serious consideration. After you do so, we are confident you will see its merits. We stand ready to work with you and support your efforts in any way we can.
Thank you for your distinguished service to our nation. Please contact us if you have any questions.