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C-130J's undergo operational evaluation

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AETCNS) -- The Air Force's only active duty C-130Js are being put through the paces during phase two of their Qualification Operational Test and Evaluation which is officially testing the aircrafts warfighting capabilities.

As part of the Super Hercules' evaluation, the aircraft will perform air drop and formation drop operations during a Joint Readiness Training Center exercise at Fort Polk, La.

"The JRTC exercise is the graduation exercise for the airplane--high mobility ops, 24-hour surge operations, and interoperability with the Army equipment and personnel generated from Little Rock," said Lt. Col. Mike Brignola, who is here conducting the evaluation as the Global Mobility Test Division chief from the Air Force Operation Test and Evaluation Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

This test will make the C-130J a fully operational-capable airframe. The success of the aircraft depends on this evaluation.

"This is another step toward the goal of arming our warfighters with the unmatched capability of the C-130J," said Colonel Brignola. "We do (an) evaluation, write a report on it and (Air Mobility Command) releases the capabilities that were tested successfully."

The testing includes a main operating base phase made up of local training scenarios, tactical missions and interflys with other C-130 air frames. The final part of this phase includes a December deployment to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, for cold weather testing.

Little Rock AFB's 48th Airlift Squadron is the test's lead unit providing the planes and people for the operational test. The 48th AS will take the test while continuing its mission of training C-130J crews.

"We're doing two totally separate roles out of this squadron," said Major Dave Flynn, 48th AS qualification, operations, test and evaluation commander. "While we're performing the OT&E were also flying with new students who are coming through to get qualified on the C-130J."

Phase one of the qualification, operations, test and evaluation was conducted in 1999-2000 which released C-130J airland mission capabilities.
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