BY U.S SENATOR MARK PRYOR –
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Pryor introduced bipartisan legislation, alongside Senator Jon Tester, this week to expedite vital upgrades to the C-130 fleet necessary for Little Rock Air Force Base to continue its global mission.
The legislation gives the Air Force more flexibility in selecting avionics and communication equipment for a mandatory upgrade of the C-130 fleet that must be completed by 2020. Without an upgrade to the communications and navigation avionics, much of the C-130 fleet would not be allowed to transit European airspace after the deadline. The Air Force has been working for more than a decade to upgrade the C-130 fleet with an extensive, but expensive Avionics Modernization Program (AMP). This legislation gives the Air Force discretion to choose on a case-by-case basis whether to use the AMP upgrade kit or other smaller-scale and less expensive communication, navigation and air traffic management systems to expedite upgrades.
“This common-sense approach gives the Air Force and Little Rock Air Force Base the flexibility it needs to upgrade its C-130 fleet as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. It is essential to the security of our nation that our Air Force maintains a global reach, and the Little Rock Air Force Base C-130s are a large part of that capability. The Air Force and National Guard asked for this flexibility in the upgrade process, and I will continue to work with a bipartisan group of senators to get this done,” Pryor said.
The legislation allows for alternative avionics upgrade programs to be determined on a case-by-case basis and requires that all upgrades be completed by the January 1, 2020 deadline for compliance as required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Senator Pryor intends to offer this bill as an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. In addition to Senators Pryor and Tester, cosponsors of the legislation include Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Chuck Schumer, D-New York and John Walsh, D-Montana.