Editor's Note: This story was originally published June 3.
Yokota Air Base in Japan is set to get a fleet of brand-new C-130J Super Hercules to replace the base's aging legacy aircraft.
Fourteen C-130Js are planned for the base, replacing the C-130Hs that have been in service since 1974. The first new Super Hercules is set to be delivered to the base in the last quarter of calendar 2016.
"The J-model will not change the mission of Yokota Air Base," said Capt. Nathaniel Roesler, a spokesman for the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota. "However, this upgrade will ensure that we are better prepared to face the many humanitarian and airlift challenges we have been accustomed to seeing in the Indo-Asia Pacific region."
In the meantime, however, some assembly is required. The first C-130J is still under construction at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Georgia. The wings were just installed at the end of May, the Air Force said.
"The C-130J's expanded capabilities over the H-model are certainly bringing a level of excitement for Team Yokota," Roesler said. "Not only will the state-of-the-art technology reduce the manpower requirements to maintain and operate the aircraft, the increased cargo space, cruise speeds and navigation capabilities will allow the 374th Airlift Wing to better deliver rapid airlift for the U.S. Pacific Command and our regional allies and partners."
The Air Force says that the J model "brings substantial performance improvements over the previous H model."
"Compared to older C-130s, the J model climbs faster and higher, flies farther at a higher cruise speed, and takes off and lands in a shorter distance," according to a service fact sheet about the aircraft.