Just over half the attacks on US mobility aircraft were by small arms fire, with most of the rest being rocket or rocket-propelled grenade attacks, said Gen. Duncan McNabb, Air Mobility Command boss. Only a few were Stinger-type missile attacks. The favored target, probably because of its commonality in the war zones, was the C-130, which terrorists took aim at 165 times. The second most-popular terrorist target among the mobility aircraft was the C-17, targeted 25 times. These numbers illustrate the fact that current-day mobility missions are combat sorties, said McNabb. Theater direct delivery and missions to take Army convoys off the roads of Iraq mean that AMC’s forces regularly take off and land in insecure areas. In “some of these places,” that the Air Force operates McNabb said, the terrorists would “like nothing better” than to shoot down one of AMC’s aircraft.
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.