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Question: When is a C-130 not a C-130?

Answer: when it's a C-130J.  In a letter by 24 senators as well as an opinion piece sent out by Stratfor, both opposing potential budget cuts to the plane, they muddle the issue by conflating the C-130J with all C-130s.  In essense they argue away proven deficiencies that are particular to the C-130J, a new aircraft, by pointing to the reliability of previous versions of C-130s.

Dr. George Friedman of Stratfor wrote:

"The C-130 has been in the U.S. arsenal for half a century. It is a relatively simple, robust and inexpensive aircraft. It can take fire and not go down and it comes in a variety of flavors....

The C-130 is not high tech in any radical way. Its newest version, the C-130J, is more advanced but it is still the same rugged aircraft that U.S. troops have seen in operation since the 1950s."

Likewise, the 24 senators, led by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), wrote:

"The C-130 has been the workhorse of the military's tactical fleet for more than 50 years."

In the letter by the 24 senators this statement implies that the C-130J shouldn't be cut because it is a reliable "workhorse."  But it's not.  Nor is it the "same rugged aircraft" as the old C-130s that Friedman claims.

According to an ABC News report from last November:

"The C-130J tactical transport aircraft was supposed to be the U.S. Air Force's state-of-the-art cargo plane to fly troops and supplies into dangerous areas.

The Air Force has 50 of them, but investigators now say all of the planes are unsafe. They are especially concerned about problems in the aircraft's computers and missile defense systems. There were even reports of propellers breaking down and cracking in bad weather."

"The Pentagon's inspector general in a 34-page report blamed the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, for 33 deficiencies in the planes � planes that cost the Air Force $2.6 billion.

That came as no surprise to Ken Pedeleose, a Defense Department engineer who worked on the C-130J project. For years, he has fought with Lockheed and the Air Force. He told ABC News the C-130J plane is dangerous and a rip-off."

[for more check out this Washington Post article]

MORE: From today's Bloomberg:

Lockheed Martin Corp.'s C-130J transport plane, facing cancellation because of budget cuts, continues to have problems that make it unreliable, the Pentagon's weapons testing office says in a soon-to-be-released report.

Glitches in the aircraft, which is meant to replace older C-130 versions, render it ineffective for some operations, said Thomas Christie, the Pentagon's director of operational testing and evaluation, in his annual assessment of top weapons systems.

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