Index

Defense Transportation: Operational Support Airlift Requirements Are Not
Sufficiently Justified (Letter Report, 04/27/2000, GAO/NSIAD-00-126).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the
Department of Defense's (DOD) operational support airlift aircraft
requirement, focusing on: (1) whether the existing requirement for
operational support airlift aircraft is linked to wartime needs; and (2)
the process DOD used to determine its requirements for these aircraft.

GAO noted that: (1) the process used to determine requirements for
operational support airlift is inadequate because it is not clearly
linked to wartime requirements as DOD policy requires; (2) in GAO's
review of the process DOD used for the 1995, 1998, and ongoing analyses
of operational support airlift requirements, GAO identified several
weaknesses that call the requirement for 391 aircraft into question; (3)
specifically, DOD has not clearly explained the basis for the key
assumptions it is using to justify the requirements or identified the
assumptions that should be updated in each succeeding review; (4) for
example, DOD has assumed that most overseas airfields should be
connected to each other by nonstop flights three times a day; (5)
however, DOD has not explained why it is necessary to connect these
airfields with such frequency to support wartime requirements; (6) in
addition, DOD has not issued sufficient guidance to define participant
roles and responsibilities for validating these airlift requirements;
(7) for example, GAO was unable to determine whether any command had
validated the requirement for 85 aircraft that were based within the
continental United States during DOD's 1998 review of support aircraft
requirements; (8) DOD has also failed to ensure that sufficient
documentation to support previous analyses is maintained; (9) moreover,
DOD has only reviewed its requirements for operational support aircraft
twice since 1995, despite its own directive to validate the requirements
on an annual basis; and (10) officials involved in the review process,
however, suggested to GAO that annual reviews may be too frequent, given
that they would not expect the requirements to change significantly from
year to year.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-00-126
     TITLE:  Defense Transportation: Operational Support Airlift
	     Requirements Are Not Sufficiently Justified
      DATE:  04/27/2000
   SUBJECT:  Military aircraft
	     Defense contingency planning
	     Logistics
	     Military airlift operations
	     Combat readiness

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GAO/NSIAD-00-126

Appendix I: Operational Support Airlift Aircraft Inventory and
Characteristics

16

Appendix II: Photographs and Descriptions of Operational Support
Airlift Aircraft

19

Appendix III: Comments From the Department of Defense

27

Table 1: Inventory of Operational Support Airlift Aircraft as of
November 1999 16

Table 2: Number and Characteristics of Operational Support Airlift
Aircraft by Type 17

Figure 1: C-9 McDonnell Douglas 19

Figure 2: C-12 Beech King Air 20

Figure 3: C-20 Gulfstream III 20

Figure 4: C-21 LearJet 35A 21

Figure 5: C-22 Boeing 727-100 21

Figure 6: C-23 Short Brothers Sherpa 22

Figure 7: C-26 Fairchild Aircraft Metroliner 22

Figure 8: C-37 Gulfstream V 23

Figure 9: C-38 AIA Astra SPX 23

Figure 10: C-135 Boeing 707 24

Figure 11: CT-39 Rockwell-60 24

Figure 12: CT-43 Boeing 737-200 25

Figure 13: UC-35A Cessna Citation 25

Figure 14: VP/UP-3 Lockheed Electra 26

DOD Department of Defense

National Security and
International Affairs Division

B-284770

April 27, 2000

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
The Honorable Tom Harkin
United States Senate

The Honorable Peter DeFazio
House of Representatives

The Department of Defense (DOD) has identified a wartime requirement for 391
aircraft to transport passengers and cargo on short notice when other
military and commercial flights are not able to provide transportation in a
time-sensitive manner. These aircraft are referred to as operational support
airlift aircraft. Although DOD's policy specifies that the number of support
aircraft are to be based on wartime requirements, DOD uses these aircraft
during peacetime for crew training as well as passenger and cargo support.

This report responds to your concerns about whether the existing requirement
for operational support airlift aircraft is linked to wartime needs.
Specifically, we evaluated the process DOD uses to determine its
requirements for these aircraft. As requested, we have also provided
information on the current operational support airlift inventory and planned
changes to that inventory in appendixes I and II.1

The current process used to determine requirements for operational support
airlift is inadequate because it is not clearly linked to wartime
requirements as DOD policy requires. In our review of the process DOD used
for the 1995, 1998, and ongoing analyses of operational support airlift
requirements, we identified several weaknesses that call the current
requirement for 391 aircraft into question. Specifically, the Department has
not clearly explained the basis for the key assumptions it is using to
justify the requirements or identified the assumptions that should be
updated in each succeeding review. For example, DOD has assumed that most
overseas airfields should be connected to each other by nonstop flights
three times a day. However, DOD has not explained why it is necessary to
connect these airfields with such frequency to support wartime requirements.
In addition, DOD has not issued sufficient guidance to define participant
roles and responsibilities for validating these airlift requirements. For
example, we were unable to determine whether any command had validated the
requirement for 85 aircraft that were based within the continental United
States during DOD's 1998 review of support aircraft requirements. DOD has
also failed to ensure that sufficient documentation to support previous
analyses is maintained. Moreover, DOD has only reviewed its requirements for
operational support aircraft twice since 1995, despite its own directive to
validate the requirements on an annual basis. Officials involved in the
review process, however, suggested to us that annual reviews may be too
frequent, given that they would not expect the requirements to change
significantly from year to year.

In light of the problems we identified, we are recommending that DOD make
changes to its operational support airlift requirements determination
process so that it can better demonstrate how the requirement for these
support aircraft is linked to DOD's wartime needs. We are also recommending
that DOD reexamine the requirement to validate requirements annually.

DOD maintains operational support airlift aircraft to meet short-notice
wartime requirements for high-priority air transportation that cannot be met
by regularly scheduled military or commercial flights. The inventory is
comprised of 14 types of fixed-wing aircraft that vary in size, speed, and
range. Almost half of these are eight-passenger propeller-driven aircraft,
but the inventory also contains larger-capacity jet-propelled aircraft
capable of flying up to 5,500 nautical miles. Each service maintains an
inventory of these aircraft; however, 45 percent of the total fleet is in
the Army's inventory. More detailed information about the inventory and
characteristics of support aircraft is presented in appendixes I and II.

Prior to the mid-1990s, each service determined its own support aircraft
requirements; by 1995, there were 520 support aircraft in the inventory. In
May 1995, a review of DOD's post-Cold War role concluded that the services
had no documentation to show that the number of support aircraft was based
on wartime requirements, and it recommended that the inventory be reduced to
eliminate the excess capacity.2 In response, the Deputy Secretary of Defense
asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to recalculate the wartime
requirements. The Joint Staff subsequently formed a working group comprised
of representatives from the Joint Staff, the services, the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, and the major military commands both in the United
States and abroad to determine operational support airlift requirements for
conventional wars involving two major regional conflicts.

The working group devised a model applicable to four geographic areas of
operation--Europe, the Middle East, Korea and Japan, and the continental
United States. The model was based on a methodology that divided each
geographic area into a number of regions. Within each region, the working
group identified specific destinations, called airfield nodes, representing
either a single airfield or a group of neighboring airfields. Airfield nodes
in each overseas region were to be connected to all other nodes within that
region by nonstop flights three times a day. Likewise, each region in an
overseas area was to be connected to every other region in that area by
nonstop flights three times a day. Because of the ready availability of
commercial flights, nodes within a region in the continental United States
were connected to each other by nonstop flights an average of one and a half
times a day, and regions were connected to every other region once a day.
(The working group also designated a few airfields as remote links in those
cases where it determined that only a reduced level of service would be
required. Remote locations require just one aircraft.) The working group
then increased the airlift requirements by applying a mission capable rate
to allow for the fact that, on any given day, a number of aircraft would not
be available for use because they were under repair or awaiting spare parts.

After these requirements for each region were determined, the working group
added in mission-specific aircraft requirements that were identified by nine
DOD commands.3 Mission-specific requirements include aircraft to transport
key commanders and other required users and to provide transportation to
link commands to their distant locations--for example, to link the European
Command to Africa. The overall operational support airlift requirement of
391 aircraft reflected the sum total of the aircraft for the four geographic
areas and all mission-specific aircraft requirements, plus an additional
allowance to provide for attrition, depot maintenance, and training demands
for aircraft.

The Joint Staff presented the results of the requirements determination
process, along with the methodology it used, in a report that it issued in
October 1995. The Joint Staff has used this methodology as the basis for
subsequent requirements reviews. One of these reviews was begun in December
1997 and completed in May 1998. In that study, the Joint Staff confirmed the
current requirement for 391 aircraft that was first identified in 1995.
Another review started in November 1999 and remains ongoing.

The processes that DOD uses to identify its requirements for operational
support airlift have a number of weaknesses that make it difficult to assess
whether the current inventory meets the wartime needs. In reviewing the
process used in the 1995 and 1998 analyses, we could not determine how the
methodology relates to wartime requirements. The current guidance does not
explain the basis for key assumptions that influence the analysis or
identify the extent to which key assumptions need to be revalidated.
Furthermore, the guidance does not present a clear delineation of the
participating entities' roles and responsibilities, and it does not identify
documentation that should be maintained to support the results of the
analysis. The Joint Staff is aware that weaknesses exist in the process, and
it intends to consider changes to the process once the current review is
complete.

Although DOD Directive 4500.43 states that operational support airlift
requirements should be based solely on wartime needs, the methodology that
DOD used in 1995 and 1998 does not draw a clear link to the scenario for two
major regional conflicts specified by the National Military Strategy.4 The
October 1995 Joint Staff report states that the working group determined
airlift requirements for two concurrent major regional conflicts. Beyond
this statement, it is unclear exactly how the model that was developed
related to the two unspecified conflicts. As previously noted, the model
called for overseas airfield nodes in most regions to be connected by
nonstop flights three times a day and that each region also be connected to
every other region in the same geographic area three times a day. However,
the report does not explain why it would be necessary to connect all
overseas airfield nodes with such frequency to support two major conflicts.
Nor does it fully explain the assumptions for the frequencies given for
intra- and inter-regional flights (one and a half flights and one flight,
respectively) between airfield nodes in the United States.

In discussing the relationship of the model to wartime scenarios,
individuals involved in the ongoing requirements review could provide no
more detail about the assumptions upon which the flight frequencies were
based. One military officer involved in the 1995 study said that using an
assumption of four flights a day yielded a requirement deemed to be too high
and that using an assumption of two flights a day yielded a requirement
deemed to be too low by the commanders in chief. Operational support airlift
requirements are significantly affected by this single assumption. For
example, our earlier review of support aircraft found that 55 fewer aircraft
were required when an assumption of two flights a day rather than three was
used for overseas theaters.5

The October 1995 Joint Staff report does not explain the basis for other key
assumptions that influence the analysis of the number of aircraft required.
For example, the 1995 report stated that "robust commercial airlift" could
satisfy many of the scheduled airlift requirements within the United States.
However, the Joint Staff did not quantify the amount of commercial airlift
that was assumed to be available. The report also failed to define key
concepts, which could lead to misinterpretation and inconsistency among
commands. For example, the report includes requirements for surge aircraft,
but it does not define what constitutes surge aircraft or the method for
determining the number of surge aircraft that should be required. As a
result, one geographic area reported a need for 7 surge aircraft out of a
total requirement of 133 aircraft, while another reported a need for 8 surge
aircraft out of a total requirement of 76 aircraft.

The report also did not provide the criteria that were used for determining
whether an airfield should be designated as an airfield node or as a remote
location. These criteria are significant because the classification of an
airfield as a node rather than as a remote location can greatly increase the
number of support aircraft required. Since the methodology for most regions
requires that each overseas node needs to be connected to every other node
in its region three times a day, multiple aircraft would be required.
Conversely, connecting from a node to a remote location only requires one
aircraft. Officials involved in the current review told us that one command
has identified the need to fly to several new airfields that had not been
identified in 1995. Identifying these new airfields as nodes or remote links
will determine the number of additional aircraft required.

It was also unclear why mission capable rates were factored into the
geographically based requirements and not the mission-specific ones. The
1995 report states that rates of 80 and 85 percent were applied to the
short- and long-range aircraft, respectively, that connect airfield nodes
and support regions to allow for the fact that on any given day a certain
number of aircraft will be unavailable because they are undergoing repair or
waiting for spare parts. However, there was no explanation for why similar
factors were not applied to the short- and long-range aircraft needed to
meet mission-specific needs, which make up about 30 percent of the total
operational support airlift requirement.

The process for determining the requirements for mission-specific aircraft
was also not clearly explained in the October 1995 Joint Staff report or the
1998 review. The 1995 report simply stated that a certain number of long-
and/or short-range aircraft were needed without any apparent consideration
of aircraft capacity. According to officials at several commands involved in
the requirements process, it is important to consider factors such as an
aircraft's passenger and cargo capacity in determining requirements. In
fact, the Joint Staff completed a separate study in 1999 that specifically
examined the requirements for aircraft that are used by the commanders in
chief. This study found that the commanders' aircraft required a number of
capabilities, including (1) a minimum passenger capacity of between 16 and
36 passengers, (2) the ability to land on runways that are limited in their
length, and (3) the capacity to fly much farther than the 600-nautical mile
standard that defines a long-range aircraft in the current validation
process. Because these criteria are not considered in the operational
support airlift validation process, it is possible that the current or
future mix of support aircraft might not meet the wartime needs of the
commanders in chief.

Validation

The Joint Staff did not provide formal guidance on how the 1998 review of
the operational support airlift requirement was to be done, and we found
very little documentation surrounding this validation. In fact, according to
the Joint Staff documentation that does exist, during the 1998 requirements
process seven of the nine commanders in chief who were asked about their
airlift requirements simply concurred with the requirements outlined in the
1995 study without comment.

Because little documentation on the 1998 revalidation exists, we were unable
to determine to what extent officials revalidated the assumptions contained
in the earlier 1995 Joint Staff study. It would appear that several
assumptions would need to be reviewed during any subsequent operational
support airlift revalidation. For example, the number and location of
airfields, the availability of scheduled aircraft to meet mission
requirements, the extent of assumed commercial aircraft support, and factors
related to the availability of aircraft should all be reviewed since any
changes might affect the overall airlift requirements. Clear guidance on
these factors would seem to be important to permit consistent application of
the model by all participants.

Requirements

The Joint Staff has not issued sufficient guidance defining roles and the
division of responsibilities to ensure that the process for determining
operational support airlift requirements is complete. For example, as part
of this review we attempted to identify the DOD command currently
responsible for reassessing the wartime requirement for support aircraft
based within the continental United States. However, we found uncertainty
among the Joint Staff and some of the military commands about who was
responsible for validating the geographically based requirement for these 85
aircraft (representing more than 20 percent of the total requirement for
operational support airlift). Because documentation for the 1998 review was
not available from the commands or the Joint Staff, we could not determine
whether the requirement for the 85 aircraft was examined in DOD's 1998
review. In response to this observation, Joint Staff officials told us that
they were taking the responsibility for examining the requirement for
support aircraft within the United States during the ongoing revalidation
effort.

The Joint Staff also has not maintained records documenting its previous
requirements reviews, so it is not possible to determine whether some
options for reducing requirements were examined. For example, a DOD cover
memorandum attached to the 1995 requirements study recommended that the
Secretary of Defense approve the requirement of 391 support aircraft, but
observed that further reductions could be considered in subsequent annual
airlift wartime requirements validations if certain assumptions and
operational practices were changed. The suggested options included both
reducing the assumed number of flights per day between overseas support
regions and contracting with the commercial market for much of the
operational support airlift requirement within the United States. Although
this memorandum was approved by the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff
has no documentation to show whether or not these options for reducing the
number of support aircraft were ever considered in the subsequent and
ongoing requirements studies or what the ramifications would be if the
frequency of flights were reduced.

The 1995 Joint Staff study recommended that the size of the operational
support airlift fleet be reviewed and validated annually, and DOD made this
a requirement in Directive 4500.43 in 1996. However, the Joint Staff has not
followed this guidance. The Joint Staff began its first revalidation in
December 1997, 2 years after the completion of the initial study. The
ongoing requirements review of operational support airlift did not begin
until November 1999, again nearly 2 years later. During the course of our
work, a number of officials suggested that the annual revalidation cycle is
too frequent. They said that annual reviews were unwarranted since the
factors that affect the numerical requirements for aircraft do not change
dramatically from year to year.

Officials in the Joint Staff are aware that weaknesses exist in the
revalidation process. Although formal plans do not yet exist, Joint Staff
officials have stated their intent to bring together a working group to
address the limitations in the process once the current review is complete.
Officials in the Joint Staff have also told us that one of their goals is to
create a set of formal guidelines that will incorporate what has been
learned during the ongoing revalidation.

The current process used to determine requirements for operational support
airlift aircraft is inadequate because it is not clearly linked to wartime
requirements as DOD policy requires. It does not adequately explain the
basis for key assumptions used to determine the number of support aircraft
required or identify those assumptions that should be updated in succeeding
validations, and it is not accompanied by formal guidance that clearly
delineates roles, responsibilities, and required documentation for the
requirements process. The lack of clear linkage to wartime requirements
raises questions about whether the support aircraft fleet is appropriately
sized to meet short-notice mobility needs in wartime. Silence on the basis
for key assumptions used to determine support aircraft requirements as well
as on what assumptions need to be updated during revalidations raises
questions about the soundness and currency of the methodology. Because
detailed guidance on how the analysis should be conducted is lacking, the
potential exists for participating entities to inconsistently apply the
methodology. Moreover, the lack of clarity in roles could cause confusion as
to who is responsible for revalidating portions of the fleet, as occurred in
the current validation with respect to U.S.-based aircraft. Further, because
DOD has not explicitly said what documentation is required in the validation
process, it is difficult to replicate previous reviews and evaluate their
validity. For all these reasons, we believe a more rigorous process is
needed to better ensure that support aircraft requirements accurately
reflect wartime needs.

Although we did not find any evidence to suggest negative consequences, we
also observed that the Joint Staff is not revalidating operational support
airlift requirements annually as required by DOD directive. We simply note
that the current practice is inconsistent with policy and that it is
misleading to suggest that the support aircraft requirements are being
revalidated on an annual basis.

In order to improve the visibility of the process and better link the
airlift requirements setting process with wartime needs, we recommend that
the Secretary of Defense direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to
develop formal guidance establishing a process that clearly (1) links the
inventory of operational support airlift aircraft more closely to the
wartime requirements of DOD's combatant commands and military services,
(2) explains the basis for underlying assumptions, (3) identifies the
factors and assumptions that should be updated during each annual
validation, and (4) defines the responsibilities of participating entities
and requires documentation to support the result of the analysis.

We also recommend that the Secretary of Defense reexamine the requirement to
conduct annual revalidations and (1) change the requirement if it is
determined to be too stringent or (2) hold the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff accountable to that standard if it is deemed appropriate.

In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD generally agreed with the
findings in this report and concurred with our recommendations. Further, DOD
commented that it will take our findings into consideration during its
future determinations of operational support airlift requirements. DOD also
commented that it will reexamine the requirement to conduct annual
revalidations and take appropriate action if the requirement is determined
to be no longer appropriate.

DOD suggested several technical changes to the draft, which we have
incorporated where appropriate. DOD's comments are presented in appendix
III.

In response to concerns from congressional requesters about the size of the
operational support airlift fleet and the potential need for additional
aircraft, we evaluated the process DOD uses to determine its wartime
requirements for these aircraft. We also gathered data on the current
operational support airlift inventory and planned changes to that inventory.

To evaluate the process DOD uses to determine its support aircraft
requirements, we reviewed current and previous DOD reports and interviewed
officials in the Joint Staff and at selected joint commands. To identify the
current inventory of support aircraft and planned changes to that inventory,
we gathered data and interviewed officials within each of the four military
services.

We visited or contacted individuals at the following headquarters or field
locations:

 Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.;

 Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.;

 U.S. Army Operational Support Airlift Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia;

 U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Huntsville, Alabama;

 Department of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.;

 Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C.;

 U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.;

 Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.;

 U.S. Transportation Command, Joint Operational Support Airlift Center,
Scott Air Force Base, Illinois;

 U.S. Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia;

 U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida;

 U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Florida; and

 U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany.

We conducted our study from October 1999 through March 2000 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further
distribution of this report until 30 days from its issue date. At that time,
we will send copies to the Honorable William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense;
the Honorable Louis Caldera, Secretary of the Army; the Honorable Richard
Danzig, Secretary of the Navy; the Honorable F. Whitten Peters, Secretary of
the Air Force; and General James L. Jones, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
We will also make copies available to appropriate congressional committees
and to others upon request.

If you or your staff have any questions concerning this report, please call
Bill Solis at (202) 512-8365 or me at (202) 512-5140. Major contributors to
this report were David Moser, Madelon Savaides, and Howard Deshong.

Carol R. Schuster
Associate Director
National Security Preparedness Issues

Operational Support Airlift Aircraft Inventory and Characteristics

The current inventory of support aircraft is based on the approved wartime
requirement of 391 aircraft. Based on agreements between the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and the services, the requirements for support
aircraft were apportioned among the services. The Army was apportioned the
largest share, 43 percent, of the total requirement for support aircraft.
The Air Force and the Navy were apportioned about 25 percent each, and the
Marines have the remaining share of the total requirement. As of November
1999, each service has fewer support aircraft than the number apportioned to
it. Table 1 shows the apportioned requirement and inventory of support
aircraft by service as of November 1999.

Table 1: Inventory of Operational Support Airlift Aircraft as of November
1999

                                    Number of aircraft
 Service      Number of
              apportioned aircraft
                                    in the inventory
 Army         170                   165
 Air Force    103                   91
 Navy         94                    86
 Marine Corps 24                    22
 Total        391                   364

Source: The military services.

The operational support airlift inventory contains 14 types of aircraft. The
most common aircraft is the C-12. These eight-passenger propeller-driven
aircraft account for about 45 percent of the total fleet and more than half
of the aircraft in the Army's operational support airlift inventory. The
second most common aircraft is the C-21. These seven-passenger jets account
for about 20 percent of the operational support airlift inventory. Table 2
presents characteristics of each type of support aircraft.

Table 2: Number and Characteristics of Operational Support Airlift Aircraft
by Type

               Speed      Range                            Number of
 Aircraft type                             Passenger       aircraft
               (in knots) (in nautical     capacity        in the inventory
                          miles)
 Propeller
 C-12          260        1,200            8               163
 C-23          180        600              18              32
 C-26          265        1,100            14              17
 VP/UP-3       300        4,500            37              8
 Jet
 C-21          440        1,700            7               71
 C-9           440        2,000            90              30
 UC-35A        420        1,300            7               17
 C-20          450        3,500            26              13
 C-135         475        5,000            20              5
 C-22          460        1,800            77              3
 C-38          480        2,100            7               2
 C-37          520        5,500            12              1
 CT-39G        430        1,200            6               1
 CT-43         420        1,800            38              1
 Total                                                     364

Note: The information displayed for speed and range is an average for the
type of aircraft. Aircraft speed and range will vary within the aircraft
type, model and series, age, and among the services. Also, the number of
passengers and cargo on board, cruising altitude, and other factors can have
a significant impact on speed and range data.

Source: The Joint Operational Support Airlift Center and the military
services.

All four services plan to acquire some support aircraft over the next few
years. For the most part, these aircraft will replace older aircraft that
are approaching the end of their useful service or that would require major
modifications in order to extend their useful service. The Army plans to
purchase eight UC-35As between fiscal years 2002-2005. In order to remain
within the apportioned requirement of 170 support aircraft, the Army plans
to retire its older C-12s as the UC-35As are delivered. Similarly, the
Marine Corps plans to acquire seven support aircraft over the next 6 years.
Two of these aircraft are being acquired to bring the Marine Corps'
inventory up to its apportioned share of the operational support airlift
requirement. The remaining new aircraft will be used to replace older
aircraft. The Navy currently does not plan to increase its inventory of
support aircraft. However, the Navy is planning to acquire replacement
aircraft for its older C-9 and VP-3 aircraft. Similarly, the Air Force does
not plan to increase its support aircraft inventory, but is currently
studying options to lease new aircraft for operational support airlift,
including transportation for the commanders in chief. The Air Force was
given authority to lease up to six aircraft for this purpose in the fiscal
year 2000 Department of Defense (DOD) appropriations act, but it was not
given any additional funding. The Air Force is exploring ways in which it
can fund this program, but it does not anticipate negotiating any leases
until fiscal year 2001 or beyond.

Photographs and Descriptions of Operational Support Airlift Aircraft

The services maintain diverse aircraft in their inventories to transport
passengers and cargo with needs that cannot be accommodated by scheduled
military and commercial flights. The current inventory is comprised of 14
different types of aircraft that vary in size, speed, and range.

Figure 1: C-9 McDonnell Douglas

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 90
Speed: 440 knots
Range: 2,000 nautical miles
Number: 30

Figure 2: C-12 Beech King Air

Propulsion: Propeller
Passenger Capacity: 8
Speed: 260 knots
Range: 1,200 nautical miles
Number: 163

Figure 3: C-20 Gulfstream III

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 26
Speed: 450 knots
Range: 3,500 nautical miles
Number: 13

Figure 4: C-21 LearJet 35A

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 7
Speed: 440 knots
Range: 1,700 nautical miles
Number: 71

Figure 5: C-22 Boeing 727-100

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 77
Speed: 460 knots
Range: 1,800 nautical miles
Number: 3

Figure 6: C-23 Short Brothers Sherpa

Propulsion: Propeller
Passenger Capacity: 18
Speed: 180 knots
Range: 600 nautical miles
Number: 32

Figure 7: C-26 Fairchild Aircraft Metroliner

Propulsion: Propeller
Passenger Capacity: 14
Speed: 265 knots
Range: 1,100 nautical miles
Number: 17

Figure 8: C-37 Gulfstream V

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 12
Speed: 520 knots
Range: 5,500 nautical miles
Number: 1

Figure 9: C-38 AIA Astra SPX

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 7
Speed: 480 knots
Range: 2,100 nautical miles
Number: 2

Figure 10: C-135 Boeing 707

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 20
Speed: 475 knots
Range: 5,000 nautical miles
Number: 5

Figure 11: CT-39 Rockwell−60

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 6
Speed: 430 knots
Range: 1,200 nautical miles
Number: 1

Figure 12: CT-43 Boeing 737-200

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 38
Speed: 420 knots
Range: 1,800 nautical miles
Number: 1

Figure 13: UC-35A Cessna Citation

Propulsion: Jet
Passenger Capacity: 7
Speed: 420 knots
Range: 1,300 nautical miles
Number: 17

Figure 14: VP/UP-3 Lockheed Electra

Propulsion: Propeller
Passenger Capacity: 37
Speed: 300 knots
Range: 4,500 nautical miles
Number: 8

Comments From the Department of Defense

(702024)

Table 1: Inventory of Operational Support Airlift Aircraft as of
November 1999 16

Table 2: Number and Characteristics of Operational Support Airlift
Aircraft by Type 17

Figure 1: C-9 McDonnell Douglas 19

Figure 2: C-12 Beech King Air 20

Figure 3: C-20 Gulfstream III 20

Figure 4: C-21 LearJet 35A 21

Figure 5: C-22 Boeing 727-100 21

Figure 6: C-23 Short Brothers Sherpa 22

Figure 7: C-26 Fairchild Aircraft Metroliner 22

Figure 8: C-37 Gulfstream V 23

Figure 9: C-38 AIA Astra SPX 23

Figure 10: C-135 Boeing 707 24

Figure 11: CT-39 Rockwell-60 24

Figure 12: CT-43 Boeing 737-200 25

Figure 13: UC-35A Cessna Citation 25

Figure 14: VP/UP-3 Lockheed Electra 26
  

1. The fiscal year 2000 DOD appropriations act gives the Air Force the
authority to lease up to six new aircraft to provide operational support
airlift.

2. This review was conducted by the Commission on Roles and Missions of the
Armed Forces.

3. The nine commands, referred to as combatant commands, that provide input
to the operational support airlift wartime requirements process are the
Central Command, European Command, Joint Forces Command, Pacific Command,
Southern Command, Special Operations Command, Space Command, Strategic
Command, and Transportation Command. Not all of the commands have
geographically based operational support airlift requirements; some only
have mission-specific airlift requirements.

4. The National Military Strategy provides the advice of the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, in consultation with other key military commanders,
on the strategic direction of the Armed Forces.

5. Operational Support Airlift: Analysis of Joint Staff Estimate of Military
Wartime Requirements (GAO/NSIAD-96-157, June 21, 1996).
*** End of document. ***