Peoria’s 182nd Airlift Wing among 4 sites selected for upgraded C-130J aircraft

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 4:35 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - The 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria has been picked to receive new aircraft to replace their aging C-130H Super Hercules.

A release from the Secretary of the Air Force says Peoria, along with the 103rd Airlift Wing in Hartford, Connecticut, the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls, Montana and the 133rd Airlift Wing in Minneapolis, Minnesota have been selected as preferred locations for the C-130J Super Hercules.

8 C-130J aircraft will be used to replace the C-130H aircraft at each location.

The upgrade in aircraft is being called “significant,” requiring new flight qualification for pilots and loadmasters transitioning airframes.

The Department of the Air Force will begin an environmental impact analysis at each location, expected to be completed in FY2025.

Republican Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-16) applauded the decision.

“The 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria is one of the nation’s premier C130 units and a vital part of our community in central Illinois,” he said in a release. “Today’s announcement is great news for Peoria and the men and women of the 182nd.”

“Modernizing the 182nd’s fleet to newer aircraft by converting the aging C-130Hs to C-130J’s will ensure the wing maintains and strengthens its flying mission for years to come.”

The process for this upgrade began eight years ago.

Decomatric U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin (D-IL) along with U.S. Rep. Eric Sorensen (IL-17) also applauded the decision.

“I’m proud the 182nd Airlift Wing was selected as one of the preferred locations for C-130H recapitalization and can continue its mission, protecting hundreds of good-paying local jobs and maintaining the ability for the Air National Guard to respond to new emergencies and domestic missions in the process,” Duckworth said.

Durbin called it a victory for the community and the nation.

“This solidifies the legacy of this remarkable unit, allowing them to continue their vital work in supporting our nation’s defense.”

According to the joint release, The 182nd Airlift Wing has operated a flying mission in Peoria since its founding in 1947.

Since September 11, 2001, the 182nd Airlift Wing has deployed over 5,000 personnel to more than 29 countries, most recently providing key transport to Afghan refugees during the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Domestically, the unit helped administer more than 8 million COVID-19 vaccinations at 26 Illinois locations during the global pandemic, ensured cyber security for the 2020 and 2022 elections and deployed to the U.S. Capitol to support the 2021 presidential inauguration.

“I’m proud to see our region’s exceptionalism and the exceptionalism of our troops here in Peoria be recognized once again with this decision, which not only guarantees good-paying jobs remain in Central Illinois but also allows the Airlift Wing to further support our military’s readiness and provide assistance for humanitarian and combat missions,” Sorensen said.