What an Idea

A 12-term Congressman whose district includes McGuire AFB, N.J., says it is time for Congress to back off its retirement restriction on the C-5A, the oldest of the mammoth transports, and to allocate money in the 2008 defense spending bill for at least 10 more new C-17s. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) writes in an op-ed in The Hill, “The continuously high operational use of the past years has confirmed two things most mobility experts already knew: There is an ever-increasing demand for air mobility assets, and combatant commanders prefer to use the C-17 whenever possible because it’s reliable and agile.” A recent Senate hearing did nothing to resolve the C-5 vs. C-17 issue. The Air Force now believes that the cost for the C-5 modernization program has breached Nunn-McCurdy, while C-5 upgrade contractor Lockheed Martin has a different set of figures. Meanwhile, Saxton and others worry that no decision by this Congress will seal the fate of the C-17 production line.