WARNER ROBINS -- Robins Air Force Base was ready Wednesday to release its first C-130J aircraft from a new depot maintenance program.
The aircraft was set to return to its home station at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
“The C-130J is one of the newer aircraft in the United States Air Force,” said Col. Randy Burke, head of the aircraft maintenance group at Robins.
The aircraft underwent more than 100 days in the new Progressive Maintenance Program. Originally projected at 90 days, Burke said they still are developing and refining the maintenance process.
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The Progressive Maintenance Program uses maintenance packages unique to each plane based on its flying hours, unlike Programmed Depot Maintenance.
More than 40 civilian technicians had a hand in the maintenance process, which included removing parts, stripping the aircraft of paint, inspection, repair and reassembly.
The C-130J sat in a line with other C-130 aircraft Wednesday, making it hard to tell it apart at first glance.
One main difference is the engine.
The J-series features a six-bladed propeller instead of a four-blade like the older models.
The other main difference is in the cockpit, Burke said. The C-130J also has a more modern avionics suite.
The first C-130Js delivered to the Air Force are approaching 12 years of operation, so they are now in need of routine depot maintenance, which is where Robins -- “the sole organic source of repair for the J” -- comes into play, Burke said. The base works on more C-130s than any other aircraft.
Another C-130J is set to arrive at Robins Air Force Base this week, Burke said. The base is scheduled to deliver eight of the aircraft within the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.
To contact writer Caryn Grant, call 256-9751.