October 26, 2021 (by SrA Laura Weaver) - The 136th Airlift Wing acquired a brand new C-130J Super Hercules from the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Georgia, on October. 14, 2021.
Citizen Airmen with the 136th AW depart on C-130J Super Hercules 19-5927's maiden flight October 14, 2021, from the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Georgia. This new aircraft is the 136 AW's first model to be gained directly from the manufacturer. [Photo from Lockheed Martin, Thinh D. Nguyen]
This new aircraft is the first model to be gained directly from the manufacturer, with only nine flight hours upon departure.
“It was an incredible experience to bring home a J-model to begin our next chapter,” said Lt. Col. Brian Harper, 181st Airlift Squadron commander, who was assigned to fly the aircraft back to the 136th AW. “Securing a more modern, capable aircraft directly from the factory was both a historical moment and a remarkable improvement for our wing.”
Citizen Airmen from the 136th AW had the opportunity to tour the Lockheed Martin facilities, conduct initial routine aircraft inspections, and transport the aircraft back to their home station in Fort Worth, Texas.
Tech. Sgt. Juan Miramon, 136th Maintenance Squadron, was one of the Airmen who traveled to Lockheed Martin’s facility and the first crew chief to conduct the loose equipment check and pre-flight inspection on the new aircraft.
“There was a lot of excitement mixed with nervousness because you’re checking to make sure everything is safe and reliable,” Miramon said. “Overall, we’re excited to get the new aircraft. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to go to the factory and pick one up. It was an honor to be one of the ones to get to do it.”
For the first time in its history, the 136th AW is undergoing an entire fleet conversion to the C-130J Super Hercules, replacing its former fleet of aging C-130Hs that were manufactured more than 30 years ago. Since July 2021, the 136th AW has acquired four other J-models with differing production years, but with no aircraft over 1,500 hours.
As the longest continuously produced military aircraft for more than 60 years, the Lockheed Martin-manufactured C-130 has earned the reputation as the workhorse of military aircraft, adept at remote strip landings, airdropping troops, and supporting humanitarian aid missions.
The C-130J aircraft will introduce upgraded avionics, smaller aircrew requirements, more cargo space, and increased longevity as a result of fewer flight hours. It will also be able to fly faster with more payload and greater performance in hotter temperatures and higher density altitudes. It will allow the 136th AW to continue the mission of tactical airlift, but with improved capabilities.
“It’s a fresh start,” Miramon said. “It increases viability and longevity for our unit and provides opportunities for brand new missions in addition to the ones we’re already doing.”
The 136th AW includes more than 1,000 Airmen as a part of the Texas Military Department. Thousands of Airmen have supported tactical airlift missions during the unit’s tenure flying C-130s across the nation and around the world, executing missions for cargo transportation, search and rescue, and emergency response support during natural disasters.
The wing is expected to receive eight C-130Js by the end of the conversion in an ongoing effort to modernize the fleet.