The two Congress members who represent the Peoria area have asked the U.S. Air Force to give the 182nd Airlift Wing new planes.
U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, and Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, were joined by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats, in asking Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett to support the Illinois Air National Guard unit stationed at the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport by supplying them with the newest variant of the C-130 Hercules, the J-model.
The Air Force is currently buying more J-models of the C-130 and replacing older versions. Within the past two budget cycles, Congress appropriated and authorized the creation of 16 new C-130Js, according to a joint news release from the Congress members.
According to U.S. Air Force specifications, the new planes can fly faster and at a higher altitude. Additionally, the planes come with more advanced radar, which allows pilots to fly in all weather. Improved avionics — the computers that assist in flying the plane — also are incorporated into the newer models.
“We support our men and women serving at the 182nd and the Illinois National Guard and with a strong military presence in the state of Illinois, we believe the recapitalization of C-130J aircraft will further strengthen the value of the 182nd Airlift Wing to our national security and Illinois’s long-lasting partnership with the United States Air Force,” the members wrote.
Peoria last got new planes in 2005, and many credited the replacement of the “E” models with the newer H3 models as one of the reasons the wing survived a round of base closings that year.
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