Navy Reserve Chief: C-130 Recapitalization on Track for 2023, P-3 Recap Uncertain
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
WASHINGTON — The chief of Navy Reserve said the recapitalization of its ailing C-130T/KC-130T Hercules transport fleet in on track for recapitalization by 2023, but recapitalization of its reserve patrol squadrons is uncertain.
Testifying April 17 before the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee, Vice Adm. Luke M. McCollum said that the command’s fleet of C-130T and KC-130T airlift aircraft was on track for replacement by new KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft beginning in fiscal 2023 with a three-aircraft procurement.
“Your continued support of this program will ensure the Navy Reserve’s ability to fill our fleet’s essential airlift requirement,” McCollum told the subcommittee.
Most of the Navy Reserve’s 24 C-130T and KC-130T aircraft have been grounded for months because of problems with their propellers. He noted that the Congress’s fiscal 2018 action has accelerated the funding for the NP2000 propeller for the C-130T/KC-130T fleet that will restore the fleet to flight status.
McCollum said the Navy is in discussion about the fate of the Navy Air Reserve’s two patrol squadrons equipped with P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, which will be retired from the active fleet by 2020 in favor of the new P-8A Poseidon.
Capt. Tony Rossi, the Navy’s maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft program manager, said recently that the Navy is in discussions about the Reserve squadrons, but currently there are no plans to recapitalize the reserve P-3Cs with P-8/As.
“The Navy continues to review requirements for P-8 aircraft as they fully transition from P-3s,” McCollum said. “Included in this review is how the Navy Reserve will continue to support this mission with its aging P-3 fleet. Without recapitalization, the squadrons in Whidbey Island, Washington, and Jacksonville, Florida, will be decommissioned in 2023.”