PD&E aims to get C-130J into the fight

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

By Senior Airman Jason Neal
314th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AMCNS) - Procedures development and evaluation mean the world to the C-130J. The C-130J PD&E is one of the last steps before the bird is in the fight.

Seven C-130Js and their crews, and a team of evaluators, are here through the end of February to conduct PD&E.

The goal of PD&E is to hone the procedures of the C-130J to sharpen the capabilities of the aircrew and aircraft, making a more lethal warfighter platform. "PD&E, first and foremost, will deliver mission-tested procedures for employing the C-130J," said Lt. Col. Chris Hair, chief of operations modernization, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. "There are several additional benefits to this effort including a trained initial cadre, and the experience and qualifications the 314th instructors will need to stand-up the FTU (48th Airlift Squadron, the formal training unit for the C-130J)."

The purpose of the C-130J PD&E is to develop and evaluate the policy and procedures necessary to support training development, ongoing tests and evaluations, and to refine operational concepts.

The PD&E will also provide the C-130J airlift community with the policies and procedures necessary for successful completion of aircrew-training system courseware.

The in-depth testing allows aircrews to evaluate, develop, verify corrections and address deficiencies identified during test and evaluation. Once a test is performed it is evaluated, then retested and then reevaluated. This constant testing of procedures is crucial to ensure the C-130J is a capable platform for the warfighter.

"PD&E is necessary because it fills the gaps between the acquisition of the C-130J and the employment of the C-130J as a full-fledged weapons system," said Colonel Hair. "PD&E is a major milestone in the effort to providing the operators a weapons system they can use."

The C-130J is being tested extensively, and each day that passes gets it closer to mission capability.

"We need to get the J into the fight as soon as it is truly ready...not a moment before or a moment after," said Colonel Hair. "We owe it to the operators to provide them a weapons system that they can use to get the mission accomplished and bring them home safely. We owe it to the taxpayers to develop an aircraft that meets the mission requirements without purchasing every bell and whistle possible before we fly it away from the flagpole."

The heart of PD&E is the procedures, development and evaluation at the basic level.

"Primarily, the procedures aspect is the mission employment chapters in what will be Air Force Instruction 11-2C-130J," said Colonel Hair. "The development aspect refers to the process of authoring those procedures in [AFI 11-2C-130J] by a team of experts in C-130 employment and the C-130J. The evaluation aspect is the process of taking the procedures written by the team and refining them through very specific simulator and aircraft mission profiles."

All three aspects of PD&E will be pulled together to make an aircraft and aircrew combination that will break the molds of airlift capabilities.

"They all pull together to generate a complete product," said Colonel Hair, "...something that C-130J aircrews will use for decades to come."

Guard and Reserve components already have J-models in the air. The experience those flight teams can bring to the current PD&E will be most valuable.

"C-130J PD&E is a total-force effort," said Colonel Hair. "We have pulled together resources from every C-130J unit; from the Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserves, Air Mobility Command and Air Education and Training Command. No single command could have pulled PD&E together by itself. But teamed together, PD& E will continue to be a huge success."