No C-5 Retirements, so Far

The just completed conference report on the 2008 defense policy bill does not grant USAF the option to manage its own fleet of aircraft. The House conferees gave in to Senate counterparts in sustaining the restriction on retiring the A model C-5 airlifters. Instead, the bill, which passed the House on Dec. 12, contains a requirement for the Air Force to “identify options for accelerating the completion” of the C-5 modernization program testing. The Air Force declared a Nunn-McCurdy breach of the C-5 reliability enhancement and re-engining program and that irked many lawmakers, who believe keeping all C-5s in action would provide more airlift capability and be less costly than buying more new C-17s. House and Senate conferees agreed that the dollar figures cited by the Air Force to sustain its decision for the breach action need an “objectivity/sufficiency review.” They have tasked DOD to get the Institute for Defense Analysis to review the Air Force data, the contractor data, and the cost estimate of the Cost Analysis Improvement Group. Congress expect to see the IDA report by March 1.