Time Runs Out On C-27J

Time Runs Out On C-27J

The clock has ticked to zero on the C-27J as the first 21 cargo aircraft were set to be retired by Oct. 1.

The Dayton Daily News has reported that the first twelve have been taken out of service and shipped to the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. Even more C-27Js are set to be delivered to the Air Force only to be sent immediately to the boneyard.

This comes at an especially sensitive time with the government in the second week of the shutdown that occurred Oct. 1 after Congress failed to agree to a budget or continuing resolution for fiscal year 2014.


The original plan was to field a fleet of 38 C-27Js across the service as part of the Joint Cargo Aircraft Program. The Air Force had 15 C-27Js stationed at Guard bases and another two at Waco, Texas, at a L-3 Communications plant. Four more are on the books to be built by Alenia Aermacchi in Italy and sent to the U.S. in fiscal year 2013. Those newly built aircraft were scheduled to be sent directly to the boneyard.

The Air Force spent about $1.6 billion to purchase the 21 aircraft. Soon after the first C-27Js arrived in Afghanistan in 2011 to start resupplying deployed Army units, the Air Force said it could no longer afford the luxury of the aircraft.

The C-27J found itself in the middle of the debate between the Air Force active duty and the Air National Guard. Guard officials said the Air Force leadership was unfairly hacking away at the Guard’s budget in order to save the active duty. The C-27J fleet was a shining example the Guard used.

Air Force leaders justified scrapping the C-27J saying the C-130 could complete most of the missions, and it could do it cheaper.

Air Force officials had argued the sustainment costs were too expensive to keep the C-27J when compared to the C-130. Former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Congress in 2012 it cost $9,000 per hour to fly the C-27J and $10,400 to fly the C-130. Even though the C-130 was slightly higher per hour, the C-130 is well established within the fleet and the Air Force couldn’t afford to introduce and sustain the C-27J.

The Ohio Air National Guard, which is one of four Guard units that fly the C-27J, had cost estimates of their own. Officials with the Ohio Guard said it cost $2,100 per hour to fly the C-27J and $7,000 per hour to fly the C-130.

Congress ordered the Air Force within the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act to form a working group and add 32 strategic airlifters. Lawmakers did not specify that those airlifters be C-27Js and former Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said it was unlikely the service will keep the Spartan fleet alive.

The Air Force even flirted with the idea of even buying more C-27Js after it issued a request to industry on May 10 for proposals to purchase. That effort was thwarted by Congress even though language in a bill is what forced the Air Force to issue the request.

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It’s a shame that the USAF could have transferred the C-27J to the USCG. The USCG could have used them for MPA role, Search and rescue, Cargo transport and medevac. Their are Curtain AOR’s that can use the C-27J such as Guam, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto rico and New England.

Hmm, I thought the USCG and the Forest Service were in line to take some of these aircraft…

USCG will have to curtail the HC-144 acquisition to take on the C-27J. Last word was they were doing in-depth life-cycle cost analysis to see if it makes sense.
And, the Forest Service has gotten in some serious trouble acquiring excess aircraft from DoD in the past. They don’t actually own fire fighting aircraft. They facilitate the transfer of a/c to contrators, http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​U​.​S​.​_​F​o​r​e​s​t​_​S​e​r​v​i​ce_

Wow, this is government waist at its worst. We need to audit the Pentagon from the top down. This is disgusting.

If we ran our household budgets the way our elected officials run the country’s budget affairs we would all be in jail. What a colossal waste of taxpayers dollars, again!

On 13 June 2007, the Alenia C-27J was selected to replace the C-23 in US Army service.
A total of 43 C-23s were in service with the US Army as of November 2008.

Perhaps now the Army can get back to replacing the C-23s; just an idea.

This is a classic case of Buy American. But the states should form a consortium and take over the aircraft (not the Forest Service) as fire fighters. All those fires this year could have been put out more quickly is a flight of 20 tankers dumped retardant on them in a back-to-back-to-back run. If they were transferred to the Forest Service they would have been grounded because of no budget or sequestration. Let the National Guard fly them, then we’ll see if they are brave enough to get down and dirty with a forest fire.

CG could have cut in the Navy’s S-3 line and saved a ton of money over the French HU25..Sikorski could have designed a Helo for us that wouldn’t have started to exfoliate after one shipboard deployment..

Great men have tried and failed.

From roll off ” the line” to the Bone Yard!.… when the 2 shipyard modularization methodology of buildin’ the VA class adds $200 million per/boat!… man o’ man u couldn’t make this waste of $$$ up in a novel!

Would be a great replacement for C-2 has twice the payload wings are 10 feet longer.

What WILL the Army, Army Guard get to replace the Sherpa’s?????

See my piece in the August issue of AIR International offering a an alternative to parking $1.6 Billion worth of new planes in the desert. Happy to send you the PDF.

An excellent aircraft and a great example of why the Air Guard needs to be separated from the USAF and rolled into the Army — resurrect the Army Air Corps!

A-10’s, C-27J’s and MC-12’s should be directly under the control of the customer…

WOW! What a concept!

This was an Army program. Congress wouldn’t fund the Air Force’s acquisition so the Air Force took it out of hide to stay in the hunt for the program. Air Force officers are also on record saying they “needed” the airplane. The Air Force took over the program with the promise to fly C27J’s directly for Army aviation BDE’s.

Using C130’s is cheaper for the Air Force bean counters. Army CH47 helicopters will have to do emergency intratheatre lift missions. Not an issue for the USAF. Not their mission now and the Army pays for it.

This is all about branch partisanship and the Air Force blocking the Army from acquiring any fixed wing at any cost.

Contrary to the article the Coast Guard has expressed a desire for the aircraft.

The states have money from where…?

Quick history on the C-27 … AFSOC was the original entity interested in the C-27 with intentions to convert it to an AC-27 armed with some variant of 1 or 2 30mm Bushmaster cannons and/or small diameter munitions. They went as far as to purchase one, convert it, and fly it as a proof-of-concept. The idea was to have a platform capable of infil’ing a small SOF team and then providing armed overwatch in areas that an AC-130 would be too much an/or intrusive.

The program was killed because A) AFSOC went around Congressional approval to purchase the aircraft on their own albeit using SOCOM as the purchasing entity and B) Big Blue didn’t want it because it was a purely CAS/ISR aircraft which goes against the F-22/F-35 plans. If this excuse sounds familiar, it is. It’s the same one that the AF is using to justify getting rid of the A-10 in favor of a much less capable F-35 (I’m not even going to comment on the $150 mil paperweight that the F-22 is).

The Ohio Air National Guard, which is one of four Guard units that fly the C-27J, had cost estimates of their own. Officials with the Ohio Guard said it cost $2,100 per hour to fly the C-27J and $7,000 per hour to fly the C-130.
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Given the USAF’s history, and how they’ve tended to operate: I’d take the National Guards assessment over the USAF in a heartbeat.

The federal government has money from where…?

The answer lies in this question. Who is the manufacture of the C130 and C27?

SIKORSKY Aircraft Co. does not design “helicopters that exfoliate after on shipboard deployment,” so get your facts straight before slandering one of the best helicopter manufactures in the world. As a former customer (USMC C/C on CH-53A/D/E’s) and now with the vendor, I am happy to report that there are hundreds of maritime units deployed worldwide with hundreds of thousands of flight hours of successful operating time. How do you go from a fixed wing discussion and drag in a rotary wing OEM? The discussion is about life cycle operating costs, not about poor workmanship.
Lesson to USAF: don’t buy something that you cannot afford to operate and support for its forecasted service life of the unit. Not a wise use of tax payer’s dollars! Some early retirements “are” in order here; for the staff involved with this aqusition of this AC, and NOT for the platform!

Close but no cigar… But your comment would be a great thesis for Command & General Staff Officer College!!!!! Air National Guard forces have seen their air transport assets dwindle as C-130s are based elsewhere in realignments, or just not flyable. ANG units have been clamoring to host C-27Js, whose short-field landing capabilities will be very welcome in the at-home disaster relief role. Indeed, the first planned base for the aircraft was to be a Georgia Army National Guard facility in Warner Robins, GA.
Under the joint Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2006, JCA could have grown into a $6 billion program. Initial plans contemplated 145 aircraft – 75 USAF and 70 Army, and Finmeccanica projected a possible total of 207 JCA aircraft over the next 10 years. By 2009, however, consolidation under the US Air Force, which greatly prefers the larger C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster transports, came with a sharp cut in the total program, to just 38 planes, all of which would have served with the USAF Air National Guard. The Army National Guard originally expected to receive the C-27J in 12 states, with each state hosting 4 aircraft: California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Alaska/Guam (shared), and Washington State. USAF Air National Guard deployments were also discussed for Connecticut, Michigan, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and Mississippi. As things stand now, however, many of these states will not get any planes. The C-27Js were set to base with Air National Guard detachments in groups of 4 at:
Bradley International Airport AGS, Bradley, CT
Martin State AGS, Baltimore, MD
W.K. Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, MI
Key Field AGS, Meridian, MS (6 planes, incl. 2 training)
Great Falls International Airport, MT
Hector Field AGS in Fargo, ND
Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport in Mansfield, OH
Plus 2 bases to be named later. If there is a later, the National Guard basing angle would have played a prominent role in ensuring the C-27J’s survival. But alas.…. off to the boneyard.…

PW: Ohio Air National Guard Capt. Dave Lohrer publicly disputes the USAF’s operating cost figures for the C-27J. (I wonder if He will make Major) His brief argues that early analysis pegged the C-27J’s 25-year lifecycle costs at just $111 million, rather than the final $308 million figures used by the USAF in its justifications, and argues that the USAF both overstated flight-hour costs, and added 53 more airmen to staff and service the planes, pushing the cost up by over $100 million. The USAF says the personnel numbers came from the Guard, and the Pentagon’s Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation (CAPE) group’s analysis suggests that the difference could stem from the basing of small 4-plane units at so many sites, instead of running much larger units from one base. The difference, if the C-27Js were based like C-130s? Just over $100 million, according to CAPE. The more fundamental question is one of control. The USAF prefers to have pooled airlift assets, run from a central base, with scheduling several days in advance. That’s efficient from one perspective, but it loses both responsiveness, and the ability to substitute airlift for less efficient helicopter assets. The C-27J was based around a concept that gave control to the ground commander, a concept that was tried with both the C-130 test concept deployment, and the 2 C-27Js subsequently sent to Afghanistan. According to an Army briefing, 52% of planned C-27J sorties in Afghanistan changed within the 96-hour scheduling cycle. Naturally, the USAF doesn’t like this, and wants its go-forward understanding with the Army to give them the option of retaining control. Touche’ Policy Wonk!

The states could pay for it by starting to charge for catastrophic “fire insurance” just like the feds charge for flood insurance. They just need to charge to right rate and not underprice it like the feds do (so the taxpayer picks up the full cost).

KarzyCOL,
Some lobbyist is going to write his book about this and how it financed his retirement island in the Carribbean.

KrazyCOL,
The OSD CAPE has the advantage of NEVER having been right about ANY Pentagon program it guesstimated costs for!

Nope, I nailed it. http://​www​.defenseindustrydaily​.com/​t​h​e​-​j​c​a​-​p​r​ogrhttp://​thehill​.com/​b​u​s​i​n​e​s​s​-​a​-​l​o​b​b​y​i​n​g​/​4​0​5​0​-​l​a​wmahttp://​www​.airforcemag​.com/​M​a​g​a​z​i​n​e​A​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​P​a​g​es/

In California, the property owner is responsible for clearing 0–100 yards of brush from the property line beyond. Fond memories of summer spent cutting down the dry spring grass from the top of the hill to the bottom.

They should definitely impose “fire insurance”, especially if people keep begging for emergency relief from the state and federal government. Think of it as an advance payment on what it takes to keep a few dozen people safe at the cost of a few million per summer (and sometimes, the lives of firefighters).

Your isolated hilltop view is paid for with the lives of smokejumpers. Or something like that.

No Josh, The Army was looking at the C27J starting in ’05 — ’06. That’s 2-3yrs before AFSOC created the AC27J Stinger concept.

Jim,
This is a crime, I spent a few years in USAFSpecops and I know that some of the programs those folks are in vo;ved in could make use of these aircraft/

Why not sell the C-27J to the Afghan government instead of the 2 C-130’s?

I COMPLETLY AGREE WITH YOU! I WOULD LEAN MORE FOR CONVERSION. THE FIRE FIGHTING USE WOULD BE MORE WISER AND PRACTICAL. THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PAY FOR THE CONVERSION.

Not carrier capable.

Transferring these aircraft to the Afghan military will only lead to greater problems with services than those that ended the Afghan Air Force G.222(C-27A) effort. Alenia has been quite adamant that they will provide absolutely no parts or services to these aircraft should they be transferred to another country. Alenia is not about to let the US move these aircraft and limit their possible future sales of newly manufactured C-27Js

With all the cuts the military has had to make, I find this absolutely disgusting. Units of the NG, fire service or other organizations could use these aircraft. I find even more disgusting that brand new aircraft are being sent to the bone yard. Where is the leadership???

no doubt someone from the Hampton Roads area…let NPNSB build CVN’s & Gen. Dyn. EB Div subs! & its KrazyCOL.……;)

ok, ok, don’t get all wound up in your static line.…Major Rod how about an AAM to recognize your ability to cut & paste, ps. check the date on my reference: 08OCT2013 yours all 3–6 months old, but a d@mn fine effort, I gotta give credit were its due, .….never did see you at West Points Graduation Ceremony last year. Exactamente lo que “barrio difícil” en NYC creciste en, porque eso es mi ciudad natal?

The higher up the “ladder” , the more harder it is to see the ground.…SPOT ON!

Runnin’ 4 cover right now… especially over today’s disrespecting our fallen comrades in arms!!!! Thank’s be too “The Fisher House”! I sent my $100 check today!

Leadership? .….…., not since 2008! Certainly no chance of it before 2016.

Don’t worry, many good planes (A-10C, F-15C, B-1B, C-130) will soon follow the C-27J at the boneyard to find money for the unready Just So Failed.

The interestin item is since all of this “happened” October 1st. Who flew the planes to the boneyard. Ok that could be the Military Pilot. With what “aviation fuel”, yes there is fuel in the tanks but can its replacement be purchased. When they arrived at the Boneyard, there should have been no technicians after signing their time cards to properly prep and store a plane. Or even to plan how to “mothball” a new plane of this type.

There is foolishness in sending new aircraft to the boneyard, but doing it when resources are scarce and the staff and materials to properly prepare the plane for “long term storage” seems more than foolish. Park where it is and collect them after there is a budget. If one of those organizations Army/Marines/CG/forest service picks in up they wont have to pay the unpacking charge.

We (Army Guard) went to Iraq with the C-23 in 2003. By early 2004 the talk was C-27’s — oops — Future Cargo Aircraft, in-service with the the Army Guard by 2007. We were initially looking at 33 C-27/FCA’s to replace the 43 C-23’s in the fleet. When that proposed number jumped to over 100 aircraft back in 2004 the Air Force took notice, got involved, and eventually destroyed the program. There’s no way to sugar coat that and be honest about how it went down. These articles now talk about the Air Force boning the Air Guard, but they started out boning the Army first. The day the program went from Future Cargo Aircraft (Army) to Joint Cargo Aircraft (Air Force / Army) it was obvious to most that the AF goal was to terminate the program by any means possible. What you see today is the end game of a play that began in 2004.

Back in 1967, the Air Force felt threatened by the Army’s fixed-wing operations and grabbed the tactical airlift mission, getting the Army C-7 Caribous that were in service and the C-8 Buffalos that were on order. The Air Force promptly retired the Caribous and cancelled the Buffalo order. The Air Force did operate some C-123s, but retired them as soon as they could. This was despite the lessons learned in Vietnam, where the C-130 was just too big for many front-line airfields. This forced the Army to buy second-hand Short 360s, glue a Short 330 tail on them and use them for airlift as C-23s.

Now the C-23s are worn out from supporting front-line troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army needed a replacement and the Air Force played a con game on them, going in as a “partner” on the C-27J buy. The Air Force ended up grabbing the program and then quickly terminating it. I personally think that every Air Force officer involved in the C-27J scam should be demoted to Airman First Class.

Also the Army got independent decision making authority when it came to helicopters for giving up its short range intratheatre airlift capability during Vietnam.

The Air Force had been blocking or interfering in Army procurement of helicopters since the Army started. The Air Force is extremely insecure when it comes to any systems that fly. Don’t forget, the USAF also tried to be the sole proponent for drones also. Branch partisanship trumps soldier’s lives even during war.

Not waste, is potential fraud. Guard said the c-27 operating cost was 2,100 per hour while General Schwartz said the cost was 9,000 per hour. This is almost a 7,000 over charge. Clearly, the c-130 is far more expensive to operate. The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act to add 32 strategic airlifters is driving the USAF to use the more expensive to operate the aging c-130 fleet. My take, the USAF wants global reach with a large cargo capacity. The problem is that many flights don’t hall cargo any where near capacity. The c-27 is a good choice to operate in a time of cost cutting. In addition, many c-130 aircraft are getting very old and subject to metal fatigue.

I found the Air Force cost justification for retiring brand new C27J’s — their mathematics at comparing the two aircraft is very suspect. In fact, they estimted overhead for a squad of 4 C27’s to require 50 ground crew and maintenace staff, while the C130 to require 25 personell for 8 C130 aircraft. While this was blatently untrue according to the ANG, this doesn’t even make sense since the C27J and C130 have 80–90% commonality and the C27J is smaller and lighter with only two props/engines while the C130 has four props/engines and much more weight and maintenace requirements. An Apples to Apples comparison of the maintenace of the aircraft using 25 personell per 8 planes means the C27J costs $2250 per flight hour vs the C130 at $10,400). Furthermore the C27J costs $35M per plane and the C130 costs well above $100M per plane.

Somehow please explain how this saves us money?

Also depends on the utilization rate of aircraft on hand. If the AF could point to C-130’s being operated at very low utilization, those would be good places to plug –27’s in. If all –130’s are at max utilization, it may point to needing more C-130’s, or something bigger.

Perhaps the temporary solution is some slick businessman buying out the C-27s from the boneyard and starting a /contracting service/. DoD loves contractors…hmm…

Maybe they can part out these planes and let people on food stamps sell them to supplement their food budgets.

I am fortunate to have been on both sides of the C27J/Air Guard. I worked for L3 Communications on the C27J durring the week and pulled guard drill on weekends. While in the guard as a C130 crew chief, there were at least 50+ other crew chiefs that worked on 8 C130’s. Not to mention, Air Force has specialty shops that also work on these same 8 aircraft like Fuel Cell, Guidance and Control, Com Nav, ECM, Sheet Metal, NDI, Electronics and Environmental, Hydrualics, R&R, not to mention the people in the offices, Finances, JAG, stuff like that, to operate a base with 8 C130’s. Now at the same time, as an L3 employee, working on 4 C27J, it took 15 of us to do the exact same job that an entire base of Air Guard personel of about 1000 guardsmen did on weekends. We were responcible for everything on the aircraft, not just one part. Yet, I heard complaints from other guard members about how expensive contract maintenance is and mother Air Force can do it a lot cheaper. If you really believe that, your an idiot. You want to talk about fraud waste and abuse, look at the numbers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out its cheaper to pay 15 people compaired to 1000. If you want the Air Force, or military to be effiecient, then use less specialty shops. You don’t need 12 monkeys to change a tire. One to turn the wrench, one to remove bearings, one to air up the tire. ect.

I was looking for the inevitable Obama slam and I was not disappointed.

It’s such a pity that some people’s hate overrides any hope of rational thinking.

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