Air Force Praises New Cargo Planes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/12/05

Air Force Praises New Cargo Planes

The Air Force's newest transport plane can't seem to please its critics . The C130-J has been the target of development problems, cost overruns and a critical report from Pentagon inspectors who said the high tech plane, "cannot perform its mission".

But the plane gets rave reviews from those who may matter most.

"I think with the increased capability, it's well worth a buy," said the 403rd commander, as a nearly $70 million plane came in for a landing at Keesler Air Force base Tuesday.

General Rich Moss says the capabilities of the new C-130J model far exceed the older 130s.

"The increased avionics. The electronic flight instrumentation. The computerization of the airplane, as well as the engines, gives us a better safety margin. We can fly higher, faster and further," said Moss.

Pilot Brian Freeman demonstrated the expanded cargo capability. He says the Pentagon report critical of the plane, used outdated information.

"We just didn't probably do a good enough job of getting the good news out that we were making progress and that really the capabilities today are exactly what we want and exactly what the Air Force needs right now," Freeman explained.

The "J's" high tech cockpit is computer driven and pilot friendly. Navigation information is displayed on glass screens that drop down.

"Some of this stuff it will automatically take care of for you. It says, 'I've got a problem here, I'll take care of it,'" said Moss.

Those who fly and rely on the new C-130Js say it's initial problems have all been taken care of. The new planes are flying hurricanes and combat missions.

General Rick Ethredge is a former 403rd Commander.

"Whether it's our aircraft or the ones the Guard has or the Marine Corps has, C-130J is doing the job, and doing it in a superior manner," he said.

The new "stretch" C-130-J can carry 36 additional troops or two extra pallets of cargo load. 

By Steve Phillips

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