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​A C-130H from the 103rd Airlift Wing at Bradley ANGB, Conn., prepares to taxi on Dec. 19, 2013 (Air National Guard photo by Maj. Bryon Turner)

Making certain legacy C-130Hs are upgraded to comply with navigation and safety requirements to operate in US and international airspace beyond 2020 is "absolutely priority one" for the Air National Guard, ANG director Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke said. "There are other modernization programs that I would say would be second tier, but that one's got to come first," he told members of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel, March 17. "The Air Force is committed to putting the resources behind this compliance issue in order to make sure we are compatible," he said, despite the fact there's no current program of record to do so. Clarke said that ambiguity and disagreement between Congress and the Air Force as to whether upgrades would be part of the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program has put the effort "a little bit behind" schedule. The Air Force will "have to have multiple vendors" to have any hope of meeting the FAA's deadline at this point, but the service will "make sure it happens in time to meet that 2020 mandate," he said.