Tim Ryan says YARS a finalist for C-130J models

YOUNGSTOWN — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, said Friday that the Youngstown Air Reserve Station is one of two finalists competing to receive four new aircraft.

The Air Force Reserve announced it would place four new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft within one of two special missions of the Air Force Reserve — of which YARS is one.

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

“Though we still await a final determination on which special mission will receive these four planes, the Air Force Reserve’s announcement is encouraging news and shows their support of our locally based men and women in uniform,” Ryan said. “Every day, the men and women stationed at YARS put their lives on the line for our safety, and it is our job to give them the resources they need to succeed. Today was a step in that direction, and I will keep fighting to ensure that these planes end up at YARS.”

The aircraft would be bought with $300 million in a defense spending bill. The current expectation for delivery of the new C-130Js is in 2023.

Ryan secured funding for the four planes through his position on the House Defense Appropriations Committee, his office said in a news release.

The J-model C-130 features upgraded technology not found on older model C-130s, including improved turboprop engines, propellers and digital avionics. The J-model has greater range, a higher maximum speed and shorter takeoff and landing distances than previous C-130 models.

The facility in Vienna Township has eight C-130H planes that are from 1989 and 1990. It had four C-130H planes moved to other military bases in 2013.

Vito Abruzzino, executive director of the Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission, added: “Congressman Ryan made it clear to Air Force leaders for years that the expert warriors of the Reserve Special Missions demand expert equipment. Now, the basing process needs to run its course, with the hoped-for result that the men and women of the 910th Airlift Wing in Vienna will receive these new aircraft to carry out their unique aerial spray and tactical airlift mission well into the next decade.”