Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) praised his colleague Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-01) for sponsoring an amendment that will prevent the deactivation of three E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City and preserve the 513th Air Control Group (ACG). This amendment comes after the United States Air Force announced force structure changes in March that would bring down the total number of AWACS aircraft from 27 to 20 at Tinker, and deactivate the Reserve 513thACG.


The amendment was adopted by voice vote earlier today during committee consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2015 and is expected to pass along with other provisions later this evening. Cole is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, and Bridenstine is a member of the Armed Services Committee, where the amendment was first introduced.


“I commend Congressman Bridenstine for championing the E-3 mission and people of the 513th, and also ensuring that upgrades for the C-130 aircraft will be implemented” said Cole. “Because of the tireless work of my Oklahoma colleague and with the support of Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, there is greater hope for the future of our military, particularly for the many individuals employed at Tinker. Not only are his efforts a victory for the Fourth District of Oklahoma, but it’s a real achievement that will keep our military strong.


“There is still work ahead in order for these critical changes to be realized and implemented, including the necessary passage of NDAA in both chambers, cooperation by the Administration and appropriating funds for its implementation. While this is just the beginning, I remain optimistic that we can keep up the momentum, and I commend Congressman Bridenstine for leading that effort.”


The E-3 AWACS aircraft is a four-engine modified Boeing 707 airframe which carries airborne radar and provides all-altitude control of theater aircraft and threat warning assessment. There are currently 31 U.S. AWACS aircraft in the U.S. Air Force.