Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the Connecticut Air National Guard will receive $14.6 million in federal construction funding for major facility renovation and modernization projects at its Bradley Air National Guard Base as part of the ongoing conversion to C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft. The Department of Defense (DoD) awarded the Connecticut Air National Guard the C-130 mission last year after a series of other aircraft assignments since the loss of the A-10 Warthogs.
"This federal funding is good economic news for the greater Bradley Airport region and good news for our Air National Guard's new flying mission," said Governor Malloy. "I and many other governors fought very hard with DoD regarding their short-sighted plans to significantly reduce the number of aircraft assigned to the Air Guard. The assignment of C-130s to Connecticut after many years of indecision by DoD was part of that fight. This funding is a positive indication of the Air Force's revised commitment to maintaining the extensive flying expertise of the 103rd Airlift Wing as well as other Air Guard units across the country."
The funding will be used for multiple construction projects required to support the new flying mission of the 103rd Airlift Wing at the Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The Connecticut National Guard has a $76 million capital improvement plan for the Bradley Air National Guard Base through fiscal year 2019. The C-130H construction projects to be supported from this round of federal military construction funding include:
Modifications and infrastructure improvements to the main aircraft hangar including re-sized doors, additional equipment cranes, a new roof and building siding ($12 million);
Renovations to the squadron operations building to provide expanded flight planning and briefing space for the C-130H crews ($1.9 million);
Downsizing and relocation of the munitions storage facility ($550,000);
Repair and modernization of the liquid oxygen storage facility ($120,000).
Approximately $1.88 million was also approved to upgrade the fire protection system and repair the vehicle maintenance facility at the Orange Air National Guard Station, home of the 103rd Air Control Squadron.
Governor Malloy is an appointed member of the Council of Governors, a Congressionally-mandated advisory group to the President and Secretary of Defense on matters pertaining to homeland defense support to civil authorities, synchronization and integration of state and federal military activities in the United States and matters of mutual interest pertaining to the National Guard.
"I am pleased to see the Air Force following through on its commitment to provide the support for the Connecticut Air National Guard," said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). "These improvements will maximize the capabilities of our C-130s both for security at home and efforts abroad. The Connecticut Air National Guard has met every mission asked of them since September 11. These investments honor that proud record, and ensure that they will become even more effective in future missions. In my new role as chairman of the Senate Armed Services AirLand Subcommittee, I will be a staunch supporter of additional funding and resources for our National Guard."
"This funding will go a long way to support the Connecticut Air National Guard and the C-130 conversion program. These planes are effective and reliable, and because of the hardworking men and women in Connecticut, they'll be even better as a result of this award," said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). "I'm proud to work with such a strong Congressional delegation that can bring meaningful assistance back to Connecticut-- we'll continue to push for even more support in the future."
"Connecticut's Air National Guard will finally have a long-term flying mission and that is good news for the brave men and women who serve our state," said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3). "I am proud to support this transition and will continue to fight for Connecticut's priorities in Congress. Additionally, I am pleased the Orange Air Guard Station will be able to make needed updates and repairs to support the "Yankee Watch' Squadron as it continues its proud history serving our state and the nation."
"Our national defense relies on missions like the C-130 to provide crucial support for our military," said Congressman John Larson (CT-1). "Thanks to the efforts of Adjutant General Thaddeus Martin and former Congressman John Murtha, the vision to see these aircraft come to Connecticut has become a reality over the last decade. With this additional award, we are continuing to see a strong commitment to the Connecticut Air National Guard. I commend our delegation and Representative Joe Courtney for their efforts and the work of Governor Malloy to help ensure lasting operations at Bradley Airport."
"With the C-130 mission, the Connecticut Air National guard now has a long term and relevant mission in support of our national defense, and I am grateful for Governor Malloy's commitment to this new enduring mission," said Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2). "These investments by the Air Force are indicative of the important role Bradley Air National Guard Base will continue to play in our nation's defense, and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee I will continue to do all I can to support the new mission and its future."
"I continue to be proud of the people and equipment Connecticut contributes to our nation's defense effort," said Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4). "This project will ensure the National Guard has the resources it needs and is great economic news for our entire state."
"I applaud the Department of Defense for funding these important construction and modernization projects at Bradley Air National Guard Base in support of the 103rd's C-130 mission," said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5). "The men and women of our National Guard and Reserve components in Connecticut have bravely served our nation and stand steadfast in defense of our freedom. I'm proud to help announce these funds that will help support the 103rd Airlift Wing and keep good jobs here in our state."
An additional $800,000 in project design funding was awarded to plan future C-130-related projects at the Bradley Air National Guard Base. If approved by the National Guard Bureau, these projects would total approximately $8 million in sustainment, restoration and modernization (SRM) funding which is generally used to fund smaller renovations to existing facilities within certain spending limits. Projects funded via SRM dollars do not require further Congressional approval, as opposed to Military Construction (MILCON) projects. These future projects include construction of a new air terminal facility, renovations to the existing supply warehouse and engine shop and flight line pavement and apron improvements.
The 103rd Airlift Wing has received the first four of eight authorized Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft and is conducting training throughout the unit to prepare personnel for the new mission. Last month the 103rd successfully completed its first local sortie from the Bradley Air National Guard Base with a C-130H aircraft.