posted on Aug, 19 2013 @ 02:25 PM
This one is really going to make some heads hurt. Thank god for Sequestration! [/sarcasm]
The original plan for the Air Force was to buy 38 C-27Js, under the Joint Cargo Aircraft program, which would put them in both Guard and Active Duty
Currently the Air Force plans to send all 21 C-27Js to the Boneyard (including four set to come from the factory, which will go straight to Arizona).
The claim is that while it costs slightly more to operate the C-130 (they said in 2012 $9,000 an hour to operate the C-27, as compared to $10,400 for
the C-130), the C-130 is already established in the force, where the C-27 would have to create facilities and repair areas, etc. Ohio disagreed with
those numbers and says that it costs $2,100 an hour for the C-27, as opposed to $7,000 an hour for the C-130. The Air Force also says the overall
life cycle costs of the C-130 are lower.
Now here's where the fun starts. In May of this year, the Air Force Mobility Directorate sent out an RFP (Request For Proposal) for more C-27s.
With the 2013 NDAA bill, the Air Force was ordered to add 32 airlifters to the fleet, including ordering "the Secretary of the Air Force shall
obligate and expend funds previously appropriated for the procurement of C-27J Spartan aircraft for the purposes for which such funds were originally
The NDAA doesn't specify that the aircraft have to be C-27s, and the RFP may be to show Congress that the Air Force is willing to consider buying
more of the aircraft, even though they have no intention of operating them in the fleet.
What I wonder is what's the point of sequestration to cut spending, if Congress is just going to order the military to spend the money that they were
trying to cut? I'll almost guarantee that the Spartan would be operated or maintained in at least one Congressperson's district.
The Air Force is set to discard 21 C-27Js before the end of fiscal year 2013, yet service officials still issued a request to industry on May 10
for proposals to purchase even more of the same exact aircraft that will likely sit in the boneyard.
The C-27J Spartan is the cargo aircraft that has found itself in the middle of a battle between the Air Force’s active duty and the Air National
Guard. Active duty leaders have said the service likes the aircraft, but can’t afford it with the forthcoming budget cuts. Guard leaders have
responded saying the aircraft will save the service money and the Guard, which was set to receive the bulk of the fleet, is being unfairly targeted to
absorb the brunt of the service’s budget cuts.
Congress has for the most part taken the Guard’s side in the debate. Lawmakers have ordered the service to consider buying more C-27Js even though
the service is set to follow through on plans to send the C-27J fleet to the service’s boneyard at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., with the
309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group. There the aircraft will sit in storage unless another federal agency claims them.