AF hopes to shrink airlift fleet

The Air Force would like to be able to retire more of its aging C-5A cargo planes, but first Congress needs to give authorization to shrink the size of its airlift fleet.

The Air Force would like Congress to reduce the number of airlifters it’s required to keep flying, according to a report last week in the Warner-Robbins Patriot. Here’s how the newspaper broke it down:

In his prepared remarks before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, said the C-5A retirements would “improve aircraft availability by removing maintenance intensive jets from the fleet and allow us to focus our critical maintenance, aerial port and aircrew personnel and resources on a right-sized fleet.”

McNabb said the most recent Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study 2016 completed in February justifies repeal of the congressionally mandated 316 aircraft minimum.

“The strategic airlift aircraft reduction will allow the Air Force to retire an additional 15 C-5As and provide a substantial savings by freeing up over $1.2 billion in taxpayer dollars across the five-year defense plan,” he told the committee.

The Air Force loves its M-variant C-5s — like this one — and it would keep those. The Patriot reports that if Congress agreed, the reduction would leave the Air Force with 27 C-5As, 52 C-5Ms and 222 C-17s.