NORTH CAROLINA –
Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) will expand its support of military aviators when the depot takes on maintenance, repair and overhaul duties for Navy and Marine Corps C/KC-130J Super Hercules and C/KC-130T Hercules aircraft. Navy officials announced March 17 that FRCE will serve as the designated repair point for the platform. The depot could begin the new workload as soon as the end of fiscal year 2026.
“Supporting sustainment of our Navy and Marine Corps C-130 aircraft will allow FRC East to do what we do best: provide service to the fleet with the best quality products, on time, at the best cost,” said FRCE Commanding Officer Capt. James M. Belmont. “The C-130 plays an important role in fleet operations and, through our support of the platform, FRC East will be able to directly impact mission readiness and results. It’s an honor to be entrusted with this responsibility.
“The skill and professionalism of our workforce is widely recognized throughout the defense industrial base, and weighs heavily when leaders are making decisions like these,” Belmont said. “Our workforce has always been the key to our success and will be as we continue to shape the future of FRC East.”
The Marine Corps uses the KC-130J Super Hercules for multiple mission types including refueling, personnel and cargo transport, tactical medical evacuation, imagery reconnaissance and close air support. The medium-lift, fixed-wing aircraft provides long-range, land-based tactical and logistic support to fleet operating forces. The platform achieved initial operational capability in 2005. Naval and Marine Corps Reserve elements employ the legacy C-130T Hercules for tactical passenger and cargo airlift and the KC-130T Hercules for tactical refueling and other assault support.
Once the program at FRCE is fully operational, work on the C-130 platform is planned to provide the depot with an estimated 250,000-plus labor hours. That translates into approximately 200 full-time positions, said Stephen Barrow, director of the Central Coordination and Business Operations departments at FRCE.
These outcomes are a testament to the quality of work performed by FRCE artisans, engineers and support staff, as well as the organization’s drive to secure new workload and ensure future operations, said Matt McCann, director of the Business Development Division within the Central Coordination Department.
“There are also intangible benefits to bringing the C-130 workload to FRC East,” he said. “For example, we have the Naval Air Systems Command C-130 Fleet Support Team co-located here at Cherry Point, which will allow faster and more convenient access for engineering and logistics support and development of the aircraft. And bringing the Navy-Marine Corps C-130 workload back under the Navy-Marine Corps umbrella is also a positive.”
Securing the future workload also demonstrates leadership’s foresight in creating a sustainable business model that will keep FRCE’s workforce busy well into the future. Current Defense Department projections show a plan to keep the C/KC-130J in service past 2050.
“Our selection as the depot source of repair for these platforms demonstrates our ability to strategically position the depot in a way that best utilizes our skilled workforce to support to the fleet for decades to come,” McCann said. “We have a cross-disciplinary team from across the facility that has come together to put our best foot forward, time and time again, and use every strategic advantage to show that we’re capable of getting ahead of the old way of doing business.”
Barrow agreed that capitalizing on strengths has allowed FRCE to capture the trust and confidence of the military aviation enterprise, which has generated positive yields for both the depot and its customers.
“We are always thinking strategically and creatively on how to best support our customers and our workforce,” he explained. “Whether finding new and innovative ways to gain efficiencies or partnering with the state of North Carolina and the Global TransPark in Kinston to find solutions to space inhibitors—as we have in the past—our focus will always be taking care of the warfighter.”
From Fleet Readiness Center East.