But, There is a Case for More C-17s

If the C-5 upgrade is going to require spending almost as much per airplane as buying new C-17s, then the nation should go with the C-17s, AMC chief Gen. Arthur Lichte told reporters in Washington Wednesday. The justification for hanging onto the C-5 has largely been that it can carry super-large, bulky stuff, but “there are not that many missions the C-17 can’t do that the C-5 can,” Lichte said. He added that it might make sense to forego the upgrade but retain some number of C-5s for those unique missions where only it can handle the job. The key, Lichte said, is “velocity.” He would prefer having to fly two C-17s, which can get a mission done with high reliability, rather than gamble on a single larger C-5 that “breaks along the way.” Is it critical to decide the fate of the C-5 reliability enhancement and re-engining program while the C-17 production line is still running hot? “Yes,” said Lichte.