FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) — The Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing based in Louisville will get eight C-130 J Hercules airplanes from the Air Force next year.
Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky’s Congressional Delegation made the announcement Wednesday. This is pending an environmental assessment of the base at the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.
Officials say the C-130J is the most current model of the venerable airframe and will replace eight C-130H aircraft the wing has been flying since 1992.
Three Air Guard units in Texas, West Virginia and Georgia were also selected to receive C-130Js.
“Kentucky is grateful to the 123rd Airlift Wing and the 8,000 Soldiers and Airmen of our Commonwealth’s National Guard for their dedication to protecting our communities and our country…For several years, my colleagues in the delegation and I have supported the necessary federal funding for these planes and highlighted Kentucky’s critical role in defending our country. (Air Force) Secretary Barbara Barrett made an excellent choice for the new C-130J aircraft, and I look forward to the 123rd Airlift Wing’s continued excellence at home and abroad.”U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
“The Kentucky National Guard has protected this country for generations, and are now protecting us during this pandemic. With the U.S. Air Force only selecting four Air National Guard units in the entire country during this competitive process, their selection of Kentucky demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to our military and military families, the capability of our service members, and our ability to move forward and create a better commonwealth for all Kentuckians as we emerge from this pandemic.”Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D)
Col. David Mounkes, Commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, says the new aircraft will reduce manpower requirements, lower operating and support costs, and provide life-cycle cost savings over earlier C-130 models. The J-model is said to climb faster and higher in the air as well as farther at a higher cruise speed and takes off in the air quicker.