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​An MC-12 Liberty flies over mountains on a reconnaissance mission. Courtesy photo.

The Air National Guard is going ahead with standing up a new MC-12 Liberty special operations unit at Will Rogers ANGB, Okla., “later this year,” Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command said on Feb. 12.  “We have been given authorization to put 13 of them at Oklahoma, so we’re doing that,” said Heithold at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. The ANG unit will conduct special operations ISR and aviation foreign internal defense training in support of US Special Operations Command, said Heithold. AFSOC planned to replace its U-28 fleet with MC-12s divested by Air Combat Command and acquired via US Special Operations Command. Congress blocked the move pending a report on its rationale, which Heithold said will be briefed to legislators “in the very near future.”  If USSOCOM gets the go-ahead, AFSOC will receive a total of 43 MC-12s—33 shed by ACC, and 10 USSOCOM-owned airframes, which would be split between Cannon AFB, N. M., Hurlburt Field, Fla., and the ANG at Will Rogers. In the meantime, “we’re going to keep flying U-28s,” said Heithold.