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Proposal Could Move Planes from Westover

Westover C-5b Tails

 

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s looking more and more likely that Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee will lose half its C-5 fleet.

We’ve all seen the the huge C-5 cargo planes flying over Western Massachusetts. They are an integral part of Westover’s mission.

The C-5′s have flown on missions of mercy and transported military personnel and equipment all over the world.

There are currently sixteen C-5′s stationed at Westover.

Proposed changes would cut that number in half says Lt. Col. James Bishop. “The proposal is to transfer eight of our C-5′s to a unit in Lackland. This is based on the National Defense Authorization Act,” says Col. Bishop.

Before they’re transferred though, the C-5B’s will be upgraded to C-5M’s at a cost of $90 million per plane. “The upgrades will mean they’re quieter, more efficient, more fuel-efficient and they are more mission ready,” says Col. Bishop.

While plans call for Westover to lose eight of its C-5′s, Colonel Bishop says Westover will remain a vital part of our country’s defense.

“Under the proposal, Westover stays Westover. We did $25 million of base construction last year. We have Army, Navy, Marines. We have about 5,500 people on base. Westover remains a vital part of national security,” says Col. Bishop.

Colonel Bishop also said at this point, there’s no indication that there would be a reduction of personnel as a result of the reduction in the C-5 count at Westover.

If given final approval, the transfer of the eight C-5′s wouldn’t take place until 2016.