Taking Exception to Saxton’s C-17 Push

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) writes in The Washington Times in response to an op-ed by Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) the newspaper published earlier this month that Saxton has the wrong idea about the C-5 fleet. Saxton agrees with the Air Force that the service should get to retire older C-5s in favor of buying more new C-17s. Carper, on the other hand, writes that tests of the C-5 modifications indicate the upgraded airlifter could well exceed expected reliability rates, making them the lower cost option for replenishing the airlift fleet. He already has stated that he questions the Air Force cost estimate that led to a Nunn-McCurdy breach for the C-5 program. In this letter, he writes, “the true cost … in dispute.” Carper also refers to fixed-price guarantee offered by Lockheed Martin, but he does not mention that it includes “price adjustment” provisions.