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RCAF welcomes final workhorse of Herc fleet

Associate Minister of National Defence, Julian Fantino, praises the speed and efficacy with which the J-model fleet has been delivered to the Canadian Forces. Ross Lees photo

By Lieutenant Christopher Daniel
The Royal Canadian Air Force welcomed the 17th and final aircraft of Canada’s new CC-130J Hercules fleet Friday at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, where it will soon be used to provide the Canadian Forces with vital tactical airlift across Canada and around the world.

“This truly is an historic day,” said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force.  “When I was a line pilot on the legacy CC-130s, we used to dream of days like this – and now I can proudly say those dreams have become a reality.  The J-model family is complete.”

The Associate Minister of National Defence, Julian Fantino praised the speed and efficacy with which the J-model fleet has been delivered to the Canadian Forces.

“Delivered on budget and ahead of schedule, this impressive aircraft provides our airmen and airwomen of the RCAF with the capability they need to do their job,” said Mr. Fantino. “In less than two years since the first CC-130J was delivered, they have literally spanned the country and the globe in support of Canadian Forces operations.”

LGen Deschamps noted that the RCAF of the 21st Century must be agile, versatile and reliable. He also said that these qualities aptly describe Canada’s new fleet of CC-130J Hercules.

“In keeping with the motto of 436 Squadron, these new Hercs definitely carry the load,” he said. “I have always said that my priority as commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force is success in operations and I can assure you that the J-model Hercules, along with its air and ground crews, maintainers, logistics and support personnel, is a key player in executing that mission each and every day. “

During the ceremony, the fleet showcased some of its capabilities, including the Container Delivery System (CDS) drop and tactical airlift support to Skyhawks parachute demonstration team.

The CDS drop is the most commonly used method for quickly inserting supplies military and other contingency operations.

“With its integrated digital technology, our fleet of CC-130J Hercules aircraft is capable of undertaking tactical airdrop in all weather conditions,” said Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Colin Keiver, commanding officer of 436 Transport Squadron. “It means that we are capable of providing airdrop support to the Canadian Forces and to the Government of Canada whenever and wherever our service is needed.”

The CC-130J also has new technologies and designs that significantly reduce the life-cycle cost of operating the aircraft while dramatically improving overall system reliability.

“These new technologies make aircraft maintenance simpler and far less frequent than earlier generations of the CC-130 aircraft,” he noted.

The CC-130J incorporates state-of-the-art technology that significantly improved performance and reduced ownership costs. In fact, early model CC-130s required more than 20 maintenance man-hours per flight hour (MMH/FH) while the new CC-130J only requires approximately 10 or less MMH/FH.

As a workhorse of the RCAF, the CC-130Js are used in a wide variety of roles including training, and transporting equipment, troops and supplies to, from and within a theatre of operations.

Since the delivery of the first CC-130J Hercules aircraft on June 4, 2010, the fleet has logged more than 5,800 hours of flight time in service to Canadians at home and abroad. It has achieved an impressive operational record that includes supporting Operation Athena in Afghanistan and Operation Mobile, Canada’s contribution to the NATO-led mission to protect the people of Libya.

With its dedication to serve Canadians at home, the CC-130J Hercules fleet has actively participated in a number of operations and joint exercises including assisting in the evacuation of Canadians from forest fires in the summer of 2011. In addition, September 2011 marked the first time that the annual resupply mission to Canadian Forces Station Alert in the Arctic (Operation Boxtop) was carried out using solely by the CC-130J.

The CC-130J fleet is routinely flying approximately six aircraft a day in support of both 436 and 426 Squadrons.

“This has been made possible, in no small way, due to the significant efforts of the CC-130J aircrew and maintainers at 436 Squadron who strive to excel with a still-growing cadre of experience as they continue to train in order to reach the fleet’s full operational capability,” said LCol Keiver.

As a dedicated “workhorse” of the RCAF, the new CC-130J Hercules fleet strives to fulfill its duties to “carry the load.”

LGen Deschamps captured the mood of the event perfectly when he concluded his remarks by saying, “Through the use of this fully modern capability – perfectly  suited to the missions of the 21st century –  as well through our CC-177 Globemaster heavy airlifters, our fully modernized CF-18 fighter jets, our soon-to-be delivered Chinook helicopters and the rest of our fleets, the RCAF is better positioned than at any time in recent history to protect Canadian interests here at home and around the world.  And for that we are truly grateful and extremely proud.”

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