Transitioning a squadron to a new aircraft requires thorough planning, logistics and knowledge. Delivering this transition a year earlier than scheduled requires rapid response and flawless team coordination.
The Tactical Airlift, Adversary and Support Aircraft program office (PMA-207) successfully completed an accelerated aircraft transition with the delivery of a KC-130J to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 234 on March 18.
This KC-130J is the 47th delivered to the fleet and the first to the Marine Reserve fleet, replacing the aging KC-130T and providing a much needed advance in capabilities, said Capt. Michelle Guidry, PMA-207 program manager.
Headquarters Marine Corps requested the transition occur a year ahead of schedule and our KC-130 team began a rapid response, Guidry said.They accelerated the placement of the support equipment and training to VMGR-234 by quickly redirecting resources.
A multi-agency effort went into expediting the transition from the KC-130T to the KC-130J. It was accomplished through coordination and support from the C-130 Support Equipment and Fleet Support Teams, PMA-207, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Support Division, and Headquarters Marine Corps.
Rapid Response is an integral part of Speed to the Fleet directed by NAVAIRís Commanderís Guidance for 2013-2018 to achieve near-term outcomes most vital to our operating forces. The guidance asks the NAVAIR teams to do their part to increase speed, drive out cost, and ensure the products we deliver are integrated and effective.
The delivery of the aircraft is just a small part of the effort that it takes for a squadron to transition to a new aircraft, said Chuck Gill, the KC-130J integrated product team lead for PMA-207.
The acceleration required additional funding in multiple budget line items and accelerated contracting timelines for dozens of spare parts and support equipment items, two major training devices, a performance based logistics support contract for the engines, and a contractor logistics support contract to be in place prior to the KC-130Jís arrival, Gill said.
In a ceremony attended by Texas Governor Rick Perry and other dignitaries, Lt. Col. Patrick Tiernan, VMGR-234 commanding officer, accepted the KC-130J.
“The KC-130J takes Marine Forces Reserve into a new era of interoperability with the active component that will save money, reduce perstempo, and provide more deployment options to combatant commanders, Tiernan said.
The KC-130J supports Marine Corps and Naval Reserve 21st century expeditionary operations by providing rapid refueling and logistic support to operating forces and can be configured to provide transport of personnel or cargo. KC-130Js are currently being used in theatre for battlefield illumination, medical evacuation, air delivery of cargo, air-land supply, aerial refueling and offensive air support for ground Marines.
VMGR-234 is part of Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing and provides fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and tilt-rotor air-to-air refueling capabilities to support Marine Forces Reserve air operations and other assault support missions. The squadron, known as the “Rangers,” is stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas.