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Tim Ryan hopeful YARS will get new C-130s

4 J models could be bought with proposed spending bill

Special to the Tribune Chronicle / U.S. Air Force, Senior Airman Jeffrey Grossi Maintainers from the 910th Airlift Wing’s Aircraft Maintenance Squadron tow a C-130H Hercules aircraft into a hangar in February 2018. U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan said the Youngstown Air Reserve Station is well-positioned to receive four next-generation C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in a $300 million defense spending bill before Congress.

VIENNA — The Youngstown Air Reserve Station is well-positioned to receive four next-generation C-130J Super Hercules aircraft that will be bought with $300 million in a defense spending bill before Congress, said a hopeful U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan.

“This will go to the (U.S.) Air Force Reserve, (but) the past chief for the Air Force Reserve and the current chief for the Air Force Reserve have said that Youngstown is in a really good position to be able to get these planes. So, we’re super excited about the opportunity out at the air base here for these new C-130Js,” Ryan said.

The spending package that won approval by the powerful House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday still needs approval by the full House and Senate, which Ryan said could happen as soon as the fall.

Meanwhile, another spending bill before the committee would set aside $2 million to improve the Mahoning River between Newton Falls and Warren.

When the defense package makes its way into the Senate, Ryan said he plans to work with U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, to make sure the funding stays put “and to get to work on getting them over to Youngstown.

“The Air Force at the end of the day has to make the decision, but I put these in the bill and we have been working with the Air Force for the past few years. We’ve also got the aerial spray program designated and elevated in the Air Force when they come to make these decisions, so we’re going to work real hard to get them over to Youngstown,” said Ryan, D-Howland.

The reserve station contains the 910th Airlift Wing, which operates the only large area fixed-wing aerial spray unit within the U.S. Department of Defense. Because of this unique mission, the reserve station is a “prime contender” for the new planes, according to a release from Ryan’s office.

The aerial spray unit is capable of controlling disease-carrying insects, pest insects, undesirable vegetation and dispersing oil spills in large bodies of water.

It’s unclear if the planes were to land at the reserve station if they would replace existing aircraft or be added to the fleet, which already has eight.

Vito Abruzzino, executive director of the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission that is part of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, called the news great, but cautioned it “is not a done deal. There is real work left to be done.”

Still, he was upbeat for the funding for the Air Force Reserve and the prospect of the planes coming to the reserve station.

“This is exactly the type of results we envisioned when we started this thing off five years ago,” he said. “This is what happens when you advocate and invest in advocacy efforts.”

The defense bill also contains $20 million for an additive manufacturing program in the Department of Defense that can “plug right into what we are doing in downtown Youngstown” with America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, Ryan said.

The money would be used for research and development for large-scale additive manufacturing equipment.

Another $10 million would be for a business technology transition program in the Department of Defense that could be a benefit to the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center in downtown Warren.

Contained in the energy and water appropriations bill that was expected to pass the full appropriations committee Tuesday is $2 million that Ryan called a “down payment” on clearing downed trees and debris from the Mahoning River between Newton Falls and Warren.

“This is about building out economic development and quality of life in our community, so we’re super excited about this,” Ryan said. “This has been something we’ve been trying to get for a long time.”

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