Saturday, January 28, 2012

C-27J pushed out of U.S. DOD budget planning

The U.S. DOD's newly released budget plan has heavy words for the light C-27J.

The new strategic guidance emphasizes flexibility and adaptability. The C-­27J was developed and procured to provide a niche capability to directly support Army urgent needs in difficult environments such as Afghanistan where we thought the C‐130 might not be able to operate effectively. However, in practice, we did not experience the anticipated airfield constraints for C­‐130 operations in Afghanistan and expect these constraints to be marginal in future scenarios. Since we have ample inventory of C­‐130s and the current cost to own and operate them is lower, we no longer need nor can we afford a niche capability like the C-­27J aircraft. The Air Force and the Army will establish joint doctrine relating to direct support.



Heretic said...

The first mistake was letting the USAF have any "say" over the ownership and operation of the C-27J. They never wanted it, it didn't fit with their prefered schema of mobility, but because it had fixed wings they felt it HAD TO BE theirs (so they could kill it).

C-27J should have been left as an Army responsibility as a puddle jumper transport for on-demand mobility of supplies the grunts on the ground needed, as opposed to what the loadmasters at the USAF depots felt like dispensing (on their own schedules).

Anonymous said...

I looked up "niche capability" in the official USAF dictionary, and it turns out that it's actually a synonym for "Not Invented Here".

scoot said...

The Army knows full well you simply cannot trust the Air Force.
And, does anyone want to bet how many of those 6 tactical fighter squadrons getting chopped will be a certain ugly jet that is only good at the 'niche' of supporting ground forces?
My bet is the guard/reserve A-10 squadrons (who I hear are filling this entire fiscal year of OEF requirements) are going to take a couple losses.

scoot said...


Bushranger 71 said...

Heretic; these extracts are from a credible web source:

'...The Army Caribou force proved inadequate for the task of supplying large units, and it was not long before the Army Chief of Staff suggested that the airplanes be transferred to the Air Force in return for an agreement to allow the Army to develop heavy-lift helicopter capabilities, a mission that the Air Force had already undertaken. The two Chiefs of Staff agreed and plans were made to transfer the CV-2 to the Air Force, where the airplane became the C-7A...After the transition to the Air Force, the C-7s fell under the common service airlift center in Saigon, which became the 834th Air Division in early fall of 1966. The C-7s were to be scheduled along with the C-130s and C-123s that were also controlled by 834th, with missions assigned according to the task involved. The short field landing capabilities of the C-7 made it ideal for missions supporting remote camps and units operating deep in the field away from runways capable of supporting C-123s or C-130s...' The Royal Australian Air Force also operated a Caribou squadron in Vietnam for 8 years, mainly in support of US Special Forces at remote locations with short rudimentary airfields.

The CV-2/C-7A was supposedly a replacement for the DC3/Dakota but with improved STOL capabilities. Since then, the Turbo enhanced 'Gooney' has emerged (BT-67) with great short field performance, enlarged cargo doors and lots of other options – it is even in the USAF inventory.

But nothing really replaces the Caribou like a turbo version which is still a tactical air transport requirement where C-27 or C-130 cannot go. Maybe there is a justifiable requirement for the C-27 but it certainly does not have the short field characteristics of a Turbo-Dak or Turbo Caribou at a fraction of Spartan cost.

There has been a very big shrinking of US Army fixed wing assets post Vietnam War and worth considering their present aviation fleet structure which is heavily rotary wing oriented.

Scoot; worth reading BOYD and his view of so-called 'multi-role combat aircraft'. As a general rule, any platform that is not specifically designed and equipped for a purpose (role) cannot perform all assigned functions to best effect. Had the F-16 been permitted to become what he had intended, it would be a superior air combat machine to many other types in service today. The A-10 was purpose designed by JB and has unquestionably excelled in its primary role. Just totally asinine to shed them from the inventory on the pretext that other types will suffice. Certainly not the F-35 on present indications.