Interactive: C-5s vs. C-17s in Washington

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C-17, waiting(click to view full) A Washington think-tank has gone so far as to call the planned cancellation of C-17 heavy transport aircraft production “The Dumbest Weapons Decision of the Decade.” With heavy usage that is accumulating fatigue hours far faster than originally planned, the US Air Force is loath to pay $1.5 billion to close the C-17 line – then pay another $4+ billion to re-open if their decision proves to be too hasty. Not to mention the larger $8+ billion economic effects and lost jobs. Still, the cost of its equipment means that funds are tight, and last-minute Congressional earmarks have been necessary to keep the C-17 line going. Concern has also been expressed that by shuttering the line, the USA is effectively handing the global strategic airlift market over to France and Russia; the Airbus A400M and Russia’s super-giant AN-124 would be the only games in town from 2010-2025, or longer. Worse, there is almost no confidence in the Pentagon’s 2005 Mobility Requirements Study, whose assumptions hadn’t budged from a 2000 study – before 9/11 and the resulting global war saw airlift usage and flight hours skyrocket, before the Army’s Future Combat Systems’ failure to fit into […]

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