LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 373rd Training Squadron Detachment 4, recently began teaching its first iteration of mechanical and technical courses for 16 members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The 16 RNZAF members arrived at Little Rock AFB earlier this year where they were in-processed by the 314th Airlift Wing prior to being handed over to Det. 4.
As a tenant unit on Little Rock AFB, Det. 4 is a geographically separated unit of the 373rd TRS, Sheppard AFB, Texas, and trains approximately 1,600 maintainers a year in all C-130 maintenance career fields supporting over 80 Active, Guard, and Reserve and allied nations C-130 units worldwide.
As part of a joint effort to transition the New Zealand Defence Force from C-130H Hercules models to C-130J Super Hercules models, the members will undergo training for approximately six months with Det. 4 before working directly with the 19th Airlift Wing.
Detachment 4 has been working alongside the RNZAF and the New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence since September 2021 to develop the first-ever blended international course to meet our ally’s C-130J maintenance mission requirements.
“This is definitely the birth of a new course,” said Tech. Sgt. Grant Carpenter, 373rd TRS Det. 4 section chief. “We’re hoping this will set the new standard for international training for the C-130Js and working with our allied nations.”
The new mechanical and technical training courses have been designed to incorporate multiple maintenance Air Force Specialty Code knowledge and expertise through Cross Utilization Training also known as CUT training. The students will learn the basics in multiple aspects of aircraft maintenance, such as communication navigation, integrated flight controls, fuel and environmental defense systems.
Instructors will utilize classroom discussion, C-130J flightline simulator training devices and hands-on aircraft training to provide full, in-depth C-130J knowledge quickly and efficiently.
“The resources they have available and the staff’s knowledge are world-class,” said RNZAF Sgt. Alex Jones, aircraft technician. “A lot of us have our H model experience so we're trying our best to convert it and take on new information.”
Through these courses and joint training with the 19th Airlift Wing, the RNZAF maintainers will be fully prepared to operate five new C-130Js that are set to replace their current fleet of H models in 2024.
This first round of training precedes what is to come in the next three years as we further build joint readiness between our allies. The 373rd plans to continue teaching RNZAF maintainers and technicians following this iteration of initial classes.
“This is a massive opportunity for us and the students,” Carpenter said. “To have 16 people that were handpicked to come spend a year in America and learn from the host is a big deal not only for the Detachment, but also for Little Rock AFB as a whole. Det. 4 is paving the way for future international training capabilities and is excited to be a part of the ongoing global partnerships with our allies.”