Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Common Sense Proposal for the Airlift Problem

...from New Jersey Congressman Jim Saxton, in a recent issue of Air Force Times.

Now, if he can just convince C-5 fans like Ted Kennedy, Tom Carper and Joe Biden to go along, we might get a chance to implement his recommendations.


davod said...

Combine this with the tanker problem and we have a huge problem. I think this is such a critical matter that it rises to the level of a threat to national security.

This needs to be addressed at the White House level.

Is anyone in defense pushing this at the higher level. Just how much would it cost to manufacture new tankers (understanding that they have gone back to the drawing board for contracts)and more C17s

George Smiley said...

Davod--We're getting new tankers, the question is which model, and how many. As you probably know, Boeing and Northrup-Grumman are competing for the KC-X contract, with a winner to be announced early next year. The Boeing entrant is a 767 tanker model; the Northrup-Grumman variant is based on the Airbus A330 airframe.

Personally, I think the 767 is a better choice, despite the fact that the Boeing tanker has some minor technical issues. However, Boeing is still personna non grata in certain Congressional circles, thanks to that scandal involving the company and the infamous "tanker lease" that was scrapped a few years ago. Additionally, lawmakers from AL and other states with a stake in the Northrup-Grumman entrant are pushihg hard for that aircraft. And, of course, billions are riding on the final decision.

Put it all together, and you have a hyper-competitive, even poisonous atmosphere, where the loser won't simply give up and move on, once the decision is announced. It's almost guaranteed that the loser will appeal, supported by its various friends in Congress. That will further delay deliveries of new tankers. And, I still haven't addressed Congressional foot-dragging on the retirement of old airframes. Bottom line: we'll probably still be arguing about more C-17s and the new tanker in 2010-2011, when more C-17s and those new tankers ought to be rolling off the assembly lines. Meanwhile, some of those antique C-130s and KC-135Es will still be hanging around, at the direction of Congress.

And yes, it is a national security issue. Unfortunately, I don't see Bush tackling it in his remaining months in office, and God knows what a Democratic president might choose.

halojones-fan said...

Darlene Druyun got off far too easily. Bitch ought to be under the jail.

Brian H said...

The C-5 program is a high-level "earmark" for Kennedy et al. That's the only explanation for its survival.