Differing opinions on air transport


Senator weighs need for more long-range transport planes

Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is considering investing heavily in more C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes to better position the armed forces to respond to contingencies abroad.

Inouye, who now is reviewing the Pentagon’s fiscal 2008 budget request in anticipation of a markup of the massive spending bill this summer, is working with the Air Force to determine how many C-17s the military will ultimately need.

Defense News (subscription only):

USAF Prefers More C-130Js Over Other Cargo Lifters

While observers argue over whether the U.S. Air Force needs more C-5s or C-17s, the service’s top brass told Congress last week that they need something else entirely.

–If you gave me another dollar, I would know exactly where to spend it” — on C-130Js, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said at a March 20 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. –We would want to backstop tactical airlift with C-130Js,” he said.

The Hercules transport plane has become the workhorse in Iraq, where it is perilous to run convoys over land, Wynne said. But the war is taking its toll on the fleet.

Many C-130Es have been grounded with structural problems, and the H models are –burning up at high rates,” Gen. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, told the Senate’s defense appropriations panel March 21.

Murdoc’s a bit surprised by the Air Force position, as we’ve heard a lot of reports that the C-17 fleet is getting overworked pretty quickly.

Still, my money says that building C-17s brings more money to Hawaii than building C-130s. How would Murdoc know this without looking anything up? Well, because a Democratic Senator from Hawaii wants to spend money on the military.


  1. I don’t think either the 17 or 130 have any production in Hawaii. If there is, please let me know. However, I do think Hickam AFB is becoming a major C-17 base and more C-17’s will lead to a bigger presence in Hawaii with a need for more infrastructure built by local contractors. Finally, I give Inouye the benefit of the doubt. Even though he is a demokrat, he did win the Medal of Honor. ps. I am not able to post to this site with internet explorer. I have to user firefox. Anyone else have this problem?

  2. Murdoc, I cannot post with ie7. There is also another site I can’t post to with ie7. So I don’t know if there is some security setting that is messed up or if it is a flaw with ie7. thanks.

  3. Man, this is really getting Murdoc down. Thanks for the feedback spacey. As far as I can tell, the commenting problem is confined to IE (which, though I beleive FF to be superior, is bad because so many people use it). Since I made a change last week (week before last?) that solved some IE problems, I’ve been able to comment every time. But not everyone has been able to. It’s a bummer, because the number of comments is way down, and the comments are a big part of what makes MO so cool.

  4. Well, they have production facilities here in California. They’re scheduled for shutdown after the current run because there aren’t any more C-17s ordered. Inouye might be playing to California reps. Dunno. Always liked the man, but with the party that messed up it is almost certainly affects the party members. Kalroy

  5. Meanwhile C-5M is taking twice as long and costing twice as much money as the C-130J. The difference, the Lockheed stockholder financed the J. You and I are funding the M. Both get new engines. Both get new avionics, except the J gets 2 HUDs the C-5 will never see. They even could have put the J avionics system in the M and saved us money, but of course they didn’t. The work’s being performed at the same plant by the same people. The first J delivery preceded the M by a year or so.

  6. The C-130’s have have a long and lucrative history of export revenues for Lockheed, not only as military Cargo haulers, but commericial as well in the L-100 configuration. The Air Force has learned to like systems that share common parts with a commercial market. The Boeing 757 has gone out of production. The C-117 shares engines with the Boeing 757. There is no export market for a C-117 and no commerical market for the PW2040 engines…the AirForce ends up susidizing the production lines. Nato has already decided it’s next airlift workhorse will be A-400. It holds 9 pallets instead of 11, and has a 5 foot narrower cargo and 2 foot lower cargo compartment.

  7. Increasingly my opinion is that the defense contractors want the development money in the form of an airlifter that will replace the C-17. Both Boeing and Lockheed have programs in place to build a C-17 replacement. I don’t think it is a bad idea to modernize the C-5, because we don’t have anything to replace it, and I’m including the 747 in that comment. There are a few influential California congressmen who are trying to save the C-17 to keep money flowing to their districts, but the defense company corporate offices are twisting arms to get a C-17 replacement program in place. As long as defense companies make more money on development than they do on production, they will continue to lobby for more development and less production. It’s your tax dollars they’re spending. I hope you feel safe being defended by paper airplanes.