The C-17 Talks, too:

How does Air Force officials really know that the heavily used C-17 strategic transport is showing more wear than forecast at this stage? The new airlifter tells them. Gen. Michael Moseley explained to Senate appropriators that the C-17 is “instrumented, so we understand where the stresses are on the wings and fuselage and on the structure.” The service has been using the C-17—which Moseley describes as “worth its weight in gold”—as if it were a tactical transport and using it a lot. The Chief of Staff said, “We are stressing the airplane with multiple takeoffs and landings and multiple operations into these shorter fields.” Analysis of the aircraft’s data, said Moseley, has shown that the Air Force will need another seven C-17s to maintain the 180-aircraft requirement laid down by the Mobility Capabilities Study. Of course, lawmakers still are questioning the magic of 180.