Magazine article National Defense

Air Force 'Mobility Study' to Estimate Global Airlift Demands

Magazine article National Defense

Air Force 'Mobility Study' to Estimate Global Airlift Demands

Article excerpt

The Air Force is reviewing its current and future demands for tactical and strategic cargo aircraft. The goal is to set spending priorities for the next several years, said the service's chief of staff, Gen. Michael E. Ryan.

"We are going through a large mobility study," he said during a recent breakfast with defense reporters in Washington, D.C. The review will be completed by end of this year. "It'll tell us what the requirements will be," said Ryan.

"From a day-to-day basis, we have sufficient airlift. But in major theater operations, it becomes a problem," he said. "We are not a two-major theater war Air Force in many areas. One is airlift. There are not enough aircraft to be able to support two simultaneous regional conflicts, so the Air Force has to "be able to swing the airlift from one theater to the other."

Ryan predicted the study would recommend buying more aircraft. But, for the time being, "We need to to modernize our airlift. That's what we are working very hard on in our budget," he said. The Air Force, however, is adding 14 to its previous order for 120 C-17 strategic cargo planes. Other priorities include upgrading the avionics and the engines on the C-5 Galaxy "because they are very important for large, oversize cargo," said Ryan. …

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