AFA: Cutting C-27J was a ‘particularly’ tough choice

AFA: Cutting C-27J was a ‘particularly’ tough choice

ORLANDO –  The Air Force’s move to ax its brand new fleet of C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft was an epecially hard choice given the promise the air service had made to the Army to use the aircraft to quickly resupply grunts in Afghanistan, the Air Force’s top officer said Thursday.

“The C-27 descision was a particularly difficult one for me, because Gen. George Casey, when he was chief of staff of the Army, and I agreed that we would migrate the C-27 to the Air Force and I assured him that I wouldn’t back out,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz during a speech at an Air Force Association-sponsored conference here. “But that was $487 billion dollars ago.”

Schwartz was referring to the $487 billion spending cut the Pentagon has been forced to make in its budget plans  for the next decade.  As you know, the C-27J started as an Army program aimed at providing on-demand tactical airlift or important supplies to troops at remote combat bases. The Air Force eventually took over the effort, promising to dedicate the C-27s to that very mission. However, the service just announced that it will retire its brand new fleet of JCAs in order to save cash.

Schwartz went on to reiterate the Air Force’s justification for the cut, saying the service’s C-130s along with Army choppers can effectivly execute the urgent tactical resupply mission in Afghanistan.

“In the interim, we have demonstrated, I think convincingly, that the C-130 can do virtually all of the direct, time-sensitive mission critical support that the Army needs,” said the four-star. “We are committed to doing that or we will die trying. So ourt recommendation, accepted by the leadership in the department was to eliminate the C-27 weapon system, given the pressures that we face and to depend instead on the remarkable capability of 318 C-130s and an abundance of airdrop capability and other means to provide time-sensitive, mission-critical support to our ground force teammates.”

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The Air Force never wanted the C-27J. They just didn’t want the Army to have it. The Army Chief of Staff was also deficient in doing his job by recommending the Army give the program to the Air Force. This is a very sad example of the Air Force trying to protect their perceived turf. The Air Force doesn’t want this mission, and have proven time and again that they are deficient at supporting this mission, yet they also don’t want the Army to have it. The Army has been doing the job for years with the C-23, and doing it better than the Air Force ever could. I suppose that stings a bit. But the really sad part is that by pulling this maneuver, the Air Force is seriously damaging the Army’s ability to do its job. It’s really sad when petty people make petty decisions for petty reasons.
Good job Air Force. Thanks for being stupid.

From the same people that thought stopping F-22 production was a good idea. (The infamous time to move on letter from Donley and Schwartz).…

Yeah, these guys know what they are doing.…

Funny how they magically discover that they can do the work with the C-130.

Where were all these brainiacs when the C-27 was justifiable.

And, Army needs the C-27. (The C-23 being uninspired junk). How the USAF “leadership” does damage to our national defense: 1. CSAR goof up. 2. Tanker goof up. 3. Time to move on from the F-22. 3. Slavish devotion to the Just So Failed. 4. 10 years to make a prop-job COIN aircraft available. 5. Hurting the Army over the C-27. From the same kind of people that didn’t court martial Jill Metzger.

If you watch closely, you can see Lockheed’s mouth move ever so slightly whenever the USAF speaks. Do Generals come that way, or are the strings installed later?

The Navy is looking to begin replacing the C-2A Greyhound in 2024 for COD (carrier onboard delivery) with a new CATOBAR compatible medium lift intra-theater cargo aircraft that will complement the sea basing concepts. As was the case with the C-27J Spartan, the Navy’s new medium lift cargo aircraft will likely have a cargo area cross section similar to the C-130 for compatibility. Marines will need it to be usable from short soft rough field runways. So while the Army wasn’t looking for a tailhook, the plane that the Navy and Marines may acquire may be the one to perform the mission that the Army wants performed. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Has the AF re-written its doctrine allowing the C-130s to be excluded from the ATO and do mission critical tasks for the ground commander? Has the AF transferred funding to the army so it can procure more CH-47Fs?

Or did the army stupidly trust the af to do a mission its supposed to do? We learned nothing from the caribou. casey gets relieved as commander and they make him cos. what a disaster. what an indictment on the army’s leadership.

So back to the status quo. CH-47s doing the AF’s mission, UH-60s doing the CH-47 mission, and the poor stupid ground pounder driving around getting blown up instead of flying into combat and avoiding the IEDs altogether. So we invest billions in our aviation capability to squander it and spend billions more on MRAPs and still get our soldiers and marines killed.

Actually that could work out for the 3 services (and numerous foreign nations): a STOL aircraft that can get a decent payload airborne and landed without needing “carrier kit” every time could be very viable for many missions.
Even Australia wanted a STOL replacement for its aging DHC-5 transports.
Shucks, some firm in Canada is even trying to relaunch those with newer tech.
The quad-tail fin arrangement of the C-2/E-2 aircraft is necessary for carrier use (height limit), but not for everyone else, although it could considerably aid ground maintenance by not needing tall hangars to accomodate them.
(There was some talk not long ago about carriage issues of the F-35 engines in Navy C-2s…a new transport would alleviate that, but it doesn’t need to be marketted on the premise of carrying Humvees and JLTVs likeC-27J…)

A STOL transport with credible payload should be doable with current tech (Lockheed Martin, please stay out of that competition). A pair of unducted fans powered by RR Liberty 6000-shp class turboshafts should allow it easily.
USAF gets no say, period (wait at the back of the line, no ifs, ands, or buts.)

History repeat itself. During the 60’s it was the C-7 Caribou, the army forced to transfer them to the AF who promptly retired them. Now the C-27J just out of the package to go into mothballs. Hopefully, the Army Guard can get them for their inventory.

Yeah, they were so tormented I’ll bet. First they ripped them away from the Army, then immediately chopped the order down from 175 to 38, silenced talk about an AC27J gunship, and then made it the first thing they got rid of when the budget excuse presented itself. A perfectly good plane that would have been a great asset thrown under the bus due to politics. No disrespect to AF personnel, but that Air Force brass just suck.

If the Army could pull it off (hopefully), they’ll liberate the C-27s from the boneyard to replace their aging Sherpas and stick to Big Blue. Kinda makes you wonder, does AF leadership lead by blindfolding themselves and throwing darts at a board???

Never bought on the completely forigen made C-27. A C-2 Greyhound and or remake the C-7 Caribou back be much cheaper and make American NOT Italian jobs.Over all a C-130 with JATO rocket assist can do the same job as this waste of money could.

Don’t speak for the whole Air Force. I’m sure my state’s ANG squadron wanted them.

The 12 C-27Js would be hard pressed to replace the 43 C-23s.
AFSOC could make good use of them by reviving their AC-27J Stinger II program.

Not a 1:4 replacement, but to replace some of the older more worn airframes.

Our cousins in Australia will buy them and rub the capability in the USAFs face. http://​www​.dsca​.mil/​p​r​e​s​s​r​e​l​e​a​s​e​s​/​3​6​-​b​/​2​0​1​1​/​A​u​str

Hopefully Gen Odierno pumps some life back into the program. We need this capability.

C-27J costs too much. $53 million. http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​A​l​e​n​i​a​_​C​-​2​7​J​_​S​p​a​r​tan
For the same money, you can get an Embraer KC-390. And replace both the C130 and the C27J.

We buys these at $29m a copy. Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia. http://​www​.daytondailynews​.com/​n​e​w​s​/​d​a​y​t​o​n​-​n​e​w​s/o

Pssst.…Ted, don’t be upset.. Confidentialy, the USAF is on the “going out of business” curve, Mums the word.

First thing they got rid of? The F-22 is the most important piece of equipment they have because it enables all other operations. It was stopped early and will die on the vine now. Indeed, the Air Force brass do suck.

rumor has it the Casa was the army’s preferred bird, but when it went from FCA to JCA they bumped it to the C27J for a double dose of the pimp.

The C-27J has yet to comply with contracted performance specs and has terrible single engine out climb performance. I also understand the AF has changed its CONOPS to allow the Army to have TACON of C-130s apportioned specifically for the direct support mission.

Exactly! Do these morons not see how utterly incompetant these decisions make them look?

Lance, if the DOD would have stuck to the initial contract to purchase 78 C-27Js, it would have brought thousands of jobs to Jacksonville, FL. Don’t knock the C-27J until you try it! I fly on it everyday and I can promise you that the C-2 or C-7 doesn’t not compare to the capability of the C-27J.

T. Jones, the C-27Js failure “to comply with contracted performance specs” is because the AF has never dealt with a twin engine prop airlifter! If a C-130J looses 3 engines, how will it perform? I fly on the aircraft daily and it performs will with a single engine. Flying an engine out with a twin engine aircraft is dangerous and just a risk that “sissy” air force does not want to take. If you are scared to do the job, just say it! When real airman flew the C-7 in Vietnam, they didn’t complain about single engine performance!

$484 billion, the cost of 1 F-35! Look for Schwartz to secure a job with Lockheed-Martin shortly after retirement.

Ahem.… In spite of all of the program advocacy up front, I think that you will find that the underlying justification of the C-27 was based on it being a “mini” C-130 for those cases where the size of the payload just did not justify a full blown C-130. It was NEVER really a case, except perhaps on some sadly spun powerpoint charts, that the C-130 could NOT perform the C-27 missions, just that the C-27 was more smartly sized.

You can always carry a quart of ‘shine in a gallon jug!

Errrr.… lets just say that some of these decisions would seem to justify both of your assertions. On the other hand, if the services are handed a maximum budget (that is less than their current operating requirements), they have to make cuts. If they cut the C-27, one set of “customers” will raise the din, if the cut is in the F-35, another set will whine. You and I might totally disagree with the decision, and its not helped when less than persuading justifications are presented, we whine!

Whining is a marvelously empowering privilege that often only comes with the DD-214. Before we lay hands on that paper, sometimes we just have to say.… Aye, aye, SIR! Salute smartly, and march off to do the bidding of the CINC!

Brian, I agree that the USAF needs to update its rules to reflect dealing with a twin-engine airplane; the constraints on the –27J due to climb gradient requirements severely hamper the capability of the aircraft, and the USAF needs to accept some risk if they want to increase it. However, as I understand it the C-27J was delivered several thousand pounds heavier than it was supposed to be, and that’s as much to blame as the USAF’s sissiness for its limited capability. I fly the airplane for the Guard and agree that it’s fun to fly, does well on one engine (if it’s light, low DA, and cool temps). My issue with the plane is that two-thirds of its MTGW is airplane, and if you max out the fuel load, you’ve got nothing left. Compare that to the Herc, where one half of its MTGW is airplane.

Not that any of that matters: USAF would have cancelled it whether it was a star or a lemon. I agree with @ELP all the way. I’m pretty embarrased by USAF leadership.

The US has already paid for 21 C-27Js, 12 have been delivered so far. Much cheaper to use an aircraft you’ve already paid for than to send it to the boneyard. The original order from the Army was for 38 C-27Js to replace the Sherpas.

The C-130 cannot and will not do the job of the C-27J. Not because it’s incapable, but because the AF won’t let it. And how many JATO rockets does the US have, not to mention the fact that no crews are trained on them nor most of the newer C-130s fitted with the mounts.

WEW, with that philosophy we should replace all of the C-130s with C-17s. They can way outperform either the Herk of the Spartan. The point is that the C-27J is way more capable than the AF operates it. The Army can do a much better job operating the C-27J since it is willing to accept more risk during combat operations than the AF.

Ironically, I’m an American working on the project IN THE US…so your theory on Italian/American jobs is blown out of the water. However, Brian is exactly right. If you make a business deal worth 78 aircraft and reduce the order to 38 aircraft, how much does each aircraft cost in a plant in Italy? Add the cost of building a plant in Jacksonville and manufacturing expenses in the US, and your 38 aircraft just got VERY expensive per aircraft. So expensive in fact that any executive making a decision to build a plant and build the aircraft in the States would be immediately fired for doing so. But for the record and to support what Brian said from an engineer point of view, this aircraft is far superior in all metrics of logistics efficiency, maintenance costs, and abilities (foreign AND domestic) for the particular requirement it was intended to fill. Speaking of, when are we going to hear about the loss of domestic uses for this aircraft…particularly for hurricane relief efforts? This whole thing wreaks of politics, and politics in the military is a realized deterrent to completing required missions. It is very unfortunate that our political mess has found its way into the backyards of our heroes. Perhaps it came down the chain of command from the top?

I thought he already had the job. I mean hell I bet his weekend gig includes a Lockheed name tag. This is typical airforce poltics, if it doesn’t have a boeing or LM name tag on it it’s not good enough to fly. But we will sure spend billions to prove we don’t need it. As a pilot for this plane its just sickens me to know that this is what our AF has gone to, Whatever happened to taking care of your own and not yourself. You know the core value Service Before Self. I guess the CSAF doesn’t follow, but just enforces.

I’m not saying things shouldn’t be cut. What I am saying is, obviously, the C-27J was bought, IN THE FIRST PLACE, under a failed premise (Maybe), that it filled an operational need. To buy it, spend millions of dollars on the plane and prep thousands of Air Guardsman to recieve it and then say, “Oh wow, just kidding, we never really needed it in the first place. Maybe we should have actually thought this one through.” how is that not the height of incompetance Air Force fanboy?

Is that reflected in a published AFDD or JP, or is this a temporary anasthesia to get through killing the c27j?

Actually, the original number was something along the lines of 75–175 aircraft. That was chopped down to 38 as soon as the Air Force brass bullied their way into taking control of the program.

The army order was 38, when the AF jumped in and it became joint it was increased to 75.

Considering the KC-390 isn’t even built yet (I don’t think it even existed so much as a napkin drawing when JCA/C-23 replacement was first announced), that’s a hard sell to win a program on (then again, worked for the F-35…).

The US Army actually preferred the C 295 aircraft (the CN 235 already being in USCG service,…so commonality was there), as it had the longest floor/cargo deck, and moving freight pallets was more important to the US Army than moving vehicles (like the Spartan offers).

DID had a very good thread some time ago… http://​www​.defenseindustrydaily​.com/​t​h​e​-​j​c​a​-​p​r​ogr

Boss lady says OK/Cleared For Public Release, so,…

pp 205–206 of the report,.… “Assessment,… The C-27J is not operationally suitable. Shortfalls in
availability and in several subsystems adversely affect safety,
situational awareness, or workload.”

Perfectly understandable why the USAF chose to chop it.
Especially moreso when everything they would use it for, they generally have been doing with C-130s for decades.
Once more though, it’s the Army that suffers for it.
A common, documented greivance of Army commanders was that the USAF almost never kept to originally-stated delivery schedules when it came to tactical deliveries, with delays measured sometimes in days.
“Aircraft unavailable” was the most reported explanation from USAF personnel.
That’s why the Army operates their own fixed wing to begin with, and why it wanted JCA.

Incorrect. The original order was for 145, 70 to the Army and 75 to the USAF… The Vice Chiefs of both services have set a minimum JCA program quantity requirement of 145 aircraft: 75 aircraft designated for the Army and 70 dedicated to the Air Force with an initial buy of 78 aircraft.

Offer them to the RAAF,
since we retired our Caribou’s, we’ve need a medium-lift, frontline transport

Australia already announced they are procuring C27s. They cut their last 130 order and bought another C17.
so instead of the tweener 130s, they are going towards 17s and 27s. which seems smart.

Not incompetence at all.
They did enough to show due dilligence and steal it from the army, then killed it all IAW plan.
The army was the incompetent ones, the af was merely dishonest.

OK, it’s getting nit picky now, but the original Army “Future Combat Aircraft” order was for 38. The AF was looking for a “Light Cargo Aircraft”. DoD pushed them together as the Joint Cargo Aircraft and the order was bumped up to 78, 54 Army and 24 AF, with a “requirement” of up to 145, but funded only 78.

So as to reinforce my original statement of the Army’s original buy was for 38 aircraft to replace the Sherpas, along with other aircraft.

I think he’s speaking of the active duty Air Force and not the ANG.

The US sold Canada the remains of the “Presidential Merlin” helicopter airframes as cheap spares for just pennies on the dollar.

Perhaps the US can sell its few dozen C-27s to Australia in a similar fashion,…

The C-27J probably won’t be canceled for long. Congress will have a fit with it in the proposed budget and force the AF to restart the C-27 SPO and keep the aircraft and associated ANG bases that would be BRAC’d in accordance with the cancellation of their only A/C (C-27’s).

That is quite possible.
After all, it’s been argued that Congress “forced” the C-130J on the USAF when the USAF supposedly didn’t really want it.
Pluses and minuses aside, the J-Herc has proven to be the better aircraft (than any of the earlier models), the greatest problem being, many have argued enough HAVEN’T been produced (to replace all the pre-J models).

The harder one tries to understand the rationale how this government conducts its procurement affairs, the more one goes mad. Do it long enough and you end up a bureaucratic basketcase like me.

This was the plan all along. The AF doesn’t want this aircraft but they don’t want the Army to have it even more. So they take it knowing they would cancel it. Then they give it to Air Guard units so they can kill two birds with one stone. One, cut money from the budget (but not active duty) and two, it’s now easy to programmatic cancelation (no need for a BRAC) but stopping the funding. Watch and see how this plays out with other programs like the MC-12s. This is dirty pool on the AF leadership’s part.

This is the moment for the Army General staff to stand up for its own Aviators. Stop treating them like they are no different than tankers or quartermasters. Let them wear their wings again on their BDU’s. Gen. Casey made every Army fixed wing aviator feel like crap with his ” not our core competency “statement abd sell-out to the AF which double crossed him. Lastly time for the Gen. Officer in charge of the Army Aviation branch to stand up for his own Aviators and go after a replacement for the C-23. Stop being quiet, anonymous.

They should probably just get it over with and join the AF already.

Interesting insight. Didn’t think about that before, you’re probably right.

Army fixed wing pilots dont feel like crap. They feel relieved because they managed to skip out on a career of rotary wing field operations. Enough of the “oh those poor Army fixed wing guys” crying, please.

Attacks against the USAF for killing the C-27 are completely based upon a pretty big assumption that Army Aviation wouldnt have killed the system itself, in order to balance their own budget in the face of its modernization priorities: AH64D Block 3, UH60M, CH47F, OH58F, etc. That handful of C-27 aircraft might not seem all that relevant when the budgeteers looked at it stacked against all of that.

Standing up for your troops isn’t crying Bob. Army pllots are proud of their fixed wing roots not relieved to abandon them.Ever fly on the Sherpa sucking O2 in the only mil unpressurized transport?

Flown a sherpa, but I was in the back. No O2. It was funny when we went over a pass and the whole back of the plane was passed out.

You want success in COIN? Army aviation is the only way to get it done.

aside from the fact that intra-theater airlift has always been the air force’s mission that they have refused to do for decades. they army shouldn’t be flying intra theater. but we have to because of that pesky “mission” thing. only we do it with hugely expensive CH-47s.

How come Army has 64DB3, 60M, 47F, 58F and air force has 22A 35A B2 (nothing), B1B.
How come army’s letters are so much further down the alphabet?

So, what’s new? Neither have the C-17, C-141, C-5, … It’s the air Force way.

Instead of bashing the Air forces decision on not getting the C27J’s, How about reading the new Strategic guidance that was sent out for all of DoD, January 2012. The Air Force is doing this for the Nation. Put aside your petty military branch differences and think about the whole picture for once. We are all ONE TEAM. How about joining the fight rather than creating one with our brothers at arms?

Wouldn’t it be special to see a general officer or two to put the needs of the service and the needs of the country first? A resignation or two at a critical political point would surely go a long way toward improving morale among the junior officers and enlisted pukes. (I can say it, I was one for 22 years) I have often wondered if the country didn’t make a huge mistake in seperating the Army and Air Force. One thing for sure, it would have ended these discussions before they got started, In the end, short of nuclear war, EVERYBODY has to support the grunt. If he can’t do his job, nothing else matters. And yes, my time was in the AF. BTW, the Army Air Corps did a pretty good job during War 2.

Designations like M, G, J, K, S are for specific types of upgrade M Military hardening (survivability enhancements like IR decoys/deflectors and FOD ingestion/cable cutter protection), G Anti Surface to air missile (wild Weasel) or for foreign military sales in the case of J Japan, S Saudi, K Korea. Most of the time the only Air Force uses Letters for usage description and BLOCK identifiers for upgrades for example the F-16D has block a 40 and a block 60 model indicating the enhancements made to the airframe.


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