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News | Dec. 9, 2022

DCMA AIMO Eglin celebrates final AC-130J delivery

By John Byrd DCMA AIMO Eglin

Defense Contract Management Agency Aircraft Integrated Maintenance Operations Eglin personnel celebrated the delivery of the 31st, and final AC-130J Ghostrider aircraft, at the Lockheed Martin Gunship Modification Facility at the Crestview Bob Sikes Airport on Nov. 2.

DCMA personnel were joined by more than 100 Lockheed Martin and U.S. Air Force representatives to mark the end of an almost 10-year effort.

“Before the first aircraft came to Eglin Air Force Base and then to Crestview, Florida, the Air Force’s program office reached out to DCMA to ensure that we were involved,” said Steve Fowler, an aerospace engineer at DCMA AIMO Eglin. “DCMA’s participation early in the acquisition process helped us establish a positive working relationship, which ultimately contributed to the program’s success.”

The first MC-130J arrived at Eglin Air Force Base for conversion into the AC-130J configuration in January 2013. Since then, 29 aircraft have been delivered from the Lockheed Martin facility in Crestview, Florida. The last aircraft was delivered to the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The final aircraft is named “Sluggo” in honor of Stan “Sluggo” Siefke, who was instrumental in the development of the aircraft’s precision strike package. Siefke attended the ceremony, along with Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command, and Air Force Capt. Katie Tiedemann, 73rd Special Operations Squadron weapons systems officer, who shared her experience of using the aircraft during a deployment to Afghanistan. 

During the conversion process, DCMA AIMO Eglin personnel performed contract administration services from inception to present day. The team ensured contractor compliance with contractual quality assurance requirements using the risk-based process approach. The team identified contractor key and core business processes that affect the quality of the aircraft modification, assessed the risks associated with these processes, and applied the appropriate risk-based surveillance activity to mitigate risks associated with these processes.

Through ongoing and continuous data and risk analysis, the group periodically adjusted its surveillance strategy to ensure the necessary resources were available that focused on risks that could potentially impact the customer. 

“Steve Fowler, Butch Heithus, and Tom Coil have been working on this program with Lockheed Martin since inception,” said Army Lt. Col. Shadrika Witherspoon, DCMA AIMO Eglin commanding officer as she recognized the team for their contributions. “They have worked extremely hard over the years to provide sound oversight and support to the AC130-J effort. The program’s success was a collective effort.”

The AC-130J is a transport aircraft modified from the MC-130J, also known as the Commando II, which are used in Air Force Special Operations missions around the world. According to the Air Force’s website, the AC-130J is a fifth-generation gunship that provides an advanced two-pilot flight station with fully integrated digital avionics. The aircraft is modified with a precision strike package, which includes a mission management system that fuses sensor, communication, environment, order of battle, threat information, and weapons into a common operating picture.

Read the AFSCOF receives final AC-130J article for additional information.