The USA’s C-130E medium transport aircraft first entered service in 1962, so it’s no surprise that some are rather the worse for wear. What did surprise people was how many of them were about to fly their wings off – and not just as a figure of speech. On February 14, 2005, the US Air Force announced that they were grounding nearly 100 C-130E models because of severe fatigue in their wings, including a dozen that had been flying missions in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. The C-130 System Program Office at Robins Air Force Base, GA recommended the grounding after inspections of the center wing box structure, which sits atop the fuselage and forms the attachment point for both wings and all four engines, revealed cracks. These kinds of sudden problems come with aging aircraft fleets; as one can see, the effects can be far-reaching.
By November 2006, the USAF had kept 47 aircraft under flying restrictions, plus another 30 completely grounded because of the cracks. Other aircraft are expected to wear out as they fly, however, and the replacement program doesn’t expect to get ahead of the “grounding-restriction curve” until 2012. The USAF prices full center wing box replacement at $6.5-$7 million, and expects to convert about 18 aircraft per year at peak production. By 2020, 155 C-130s will have new center wing boxes from the C-130J production line. Needless to say, the 402nd Aircraft Maintenance Group at Robins AFB is a busy unit.
At least the new contract, which covers a number of unusual C-130 variants as well as the C-130H models, will keep the funding coming…
DGM21 LLC in Montrose, CO received a $31.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for the FY 2007 consolidated construction projects for U.S. Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territories. This is a design-build project is for wharf improvements and Shore Support Facilities related to the new SSGN submarines, with performance and prescriptive requirements provided by the Government. Work will be performed in Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territories, and is expected to be complete April 2009.
This contract was competitively procured with 17 solicitation packages distributed and 1 proposal received by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Construction Contracts Branch (N62742-07-C-1313). A different DG21 office recently received a base operating support contract for Diego Garcia.
ITT Avionics in Clifton, NJ received a $78 million firm-fixed-price and time and materials contract for “Foreign Military Sales of the AN/ALQ-173 (V) advanced integrated defense electronics warfare to the country of Pakistan.” Associated spares, support equipment, training, engineering services, flight test support and data are also being acquired. Solicitations began February 2007, negotiations were complete March 2007, and work will be complete January 2010. The Headquarters Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8523-07-C-).
This electronic warfare system will be used on the F-16 aircraft being procured under separate acquisition by the F-16 program office – but oddly enough, it was not among the many ECM alternatives listed in the official US DSCA announcement. See full DID coverage of this $5.1 billion program. At this time, $39 million has been obligated.
Harper Construction Co. Inc. in San Diego, CA received a $43.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for rehabilitation, renovation, and repair of individual officer and enlisted family quarters at Fort Sill, OK. Work is expected to be completed by March 28, 2009. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Oct. 12, 2006, and 3 bids were received by the U.S. Army Engineer District in Tulsa, OK (W912BV-07-C-2000).