Savannah – On 15 October, the 165th AW, GA ANG received the first of 8 new aircraft it is to receive over the next year. To be exact, the aircraft aren’t new but they are new to the unit and will be newer airframes than the C-130Hs they have been flying. Per local news reports, the 165th will trade their 8 current C-130H-2s for 2 C-130H-2.5s and 6 C-130H-3s. The current aircraft are FY 1980 aircraft and the first new aircraft to arrive is a FY 1994 aircraft, so that gives you an idea of how much more recent the new ones are. In addition to having more service life, the newer aircraft will provide the unit with upgraded avionics and navigation systems.
Based on spotter reports and the photos above, the first of the new aircraft to arrive is a C-130H-3, 94-7321, formerly of the Air Force Reserve Command 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson AFB in Colorado. Note the large orange number “5” on the tail and fuselage – it indicates that it is a MAFFS (Modular Airborne Firefighting System) capable aircraft that can be used for fighting forest fires.
I have not heard 94-7321 flying with the DAWG callsign yet (the 165th AW’s callsign) nor have I seen it on Mode-S, but I’ll be looking forward to catching it. No doubt that’s it’s probably being repainted in the 165th’s markings and the crews training for the newer version before it becomes operational with them. I’ve only seen three of the 165th AW’s current aircraft on Mode-S over the last two months: 80-0320, 80-0325, and 80-0332, so the other five may already be gone or being prepared to depart.