Later this year Robins Air Force Base will begin doing overhaul maintenance on the C-130s flown by the Navy and Marine Corps, which will ultimately mean about 400 new jobs.
Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, made the announcement to the Houston County Development Authority on Wednesday. The first planes will start coming in June, then the work will gradually ramp up. By 2021 the base is expected to be doing all of the Navy's C-130 work, which will mean 400 additional jobs.
"That's great news," said Angie Gheesling, executive director of the Development Authority. "For us it's the greatest announcement we could get."
She said it's even better than getting a new industry with 400 jobs because it doesn't require any new infrastructure or public investment. She credited the announcement to the efficiency of the work currently being done at the base.
Dan Rhoades, director of strategy for the 21st Century Partnership, agreed that the announcement is a vote of confidence in the work being done at the base.
"It's a direct result of the fantastic work the folks at the depot have been doing over the last several years to handle the C-130 work," Rhoades said. "It certainly bodes well for the depot going into the future. This is a fantastic opportunity."
Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, currently does the C-130 programmed depot maintenance work for the Navy.
A base release said the move makes Robins the primary location of depot maintenance of C-130s throughout the military.
"This is a great opportunity for our professional workforce and we welcome this opportunity to provide first-class sustainment of the C-130 Hercules fleet," Kubinec said in a release.
The C-130 Hercules, still being built at the Lockheed-Martin plant in Marietta, is known as a workhorse that is capable of a wide variety of missions. The Navy uses it for transport of troops and cargo, as well as aerial refueling and close air support. The four-engine, propeller driven plane can also be used for firefighting, weather reconnaissance, medical evacuation and search and rescue.
Robins has been the life-cycle caretaker of C-130s since the first production aircraft flew in 1956. Lockheed-Martin says it has been continuously produced longer than any other military aircraft.