Herc Heads Home: Afghans receive fourth C-130; Robins played close role in planning, maintenance

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
A fourth C-130H Hercules was delivered June 20 at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, and its significance can be traced back to planners, program managers, engineers and maintainers at Robins.

Prior to its delivery to the Afghan Air Force, it first made a stop here for something quite interesting and unique - the complete separation of the aircraft's nose from its fuselage in March 2014. 

The move to build a C-130 fleet in support of the AAF - which received its first two C-130s in the fall of 2013 - will bring increased tactical airlift capabilities for troops engaged in various missions, as well as resupply and casualty evacuation capabilities. 

The new fleet of four C-130s is a complete departure from anything the Afghan Air Force has owned before, according to Lt. Col. Tyler Faulk, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan's Security Assistance Office deputy     director. 

"These C-130s are the Afghan Air Force's first four-engine aircraft with this type of expanded capability," he said. "This fleet allows them to transport supplies or troops within Afghanistan, as well as to partner nations where they can execute missions, trainings and exercises, and a whole host of international activities." 

With Robins' support, the 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, which includes more than 800 personnel, along with the 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Support Squadron and 339th Flight Test Squadron, successfully completed 2,890 maintenance operations and logged over 17,904 labor hours on the aircraft. 

Among those operations were the removal and replacement of the entire nose assembly, accomplishing inspections and maintenance tasks necessary to make the aircraft flight worthy. It also included painting the aircraft, and accomplishing the functional test flight. 

Because of a hard landing experienced by the C-130H, major structural damage occurred to the aircraft's nose, which was later removed and replaced with a nose from a second donor aircraft that was scheduled to be retired.   

This unscheduled depot level maintenance nose repair was disassembled at the factory break, and took about three weeks, with the final nose separation taking place in about 90 minutes.           

"This team took two 1974 model aircraft that were slated for retirement and built a combat ready aircraft to support our foreign military sales partners," said Jim Russell, 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director. "Our maintenance professionals took on this never before performed task and excelled. This just goes to prove the professionals at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex are force multipliers who are willing and ready to support when the call of duty comes our way." 

The C-130's versatility, including its short takeoff and landing capabilities, makes it an ideal aircraft for use in Afghanistan's rugged terrain.