We quoted the new head of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Duncan McNabb, in the Friday Daily Report, saying the military needs more C-17 and C-130 airlifters, as well as a light cargo theater aircraft. According to the Los Angeles Times, though, the Air Force has decided it can live with only 180 C-17s, the currently planned buy. The Times quotes Congressional Research Service defense analyst Christopher Bolkcom, who has read an unclassified version of the yet-to-be released Mobility Capabilities Study. Bolkcom says the Air Force has recommended capping the C-17 at 180. The obvious reason, of course, is the money crunch. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has yet to sign off on the MCS, but it would be a strange day indeed if he overruled an Air Force recommendation that would pare down big weapons systems. He told USAF to cancel the C-130J before he realized it would cost more to do that than to continue with the planned purchase. Now, he has high praise for the new Hercules.
The Air Force has picked Northrop Grumman over L3Harris and Lockheed Martin to develop and build the Stand-in Attack Weapon, meant to swiftly destroy enemy air defense sites and other high-value targets.