The Air Force and Army are still working through the OSD-directed mandate of transitioning the joint cargo aircraft program from a combined effort to an Air Force-only initiative, Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, Air National Guard director, said Wednesday. Speaking to defense reporters in Washington, D.C., Wyatt said while the first C-27J air crews already in training are a mixture of Air National Guard and Army National Guard personnel, the move to an all-blue Air Guard cadre is underway. And while JCA maintenance initially is provided by contractors under the Army’s original plans, ANG mechanics will eventually take over these tasks. Despite the standing JCA requirement is for 78 airframes, the Pentagon’s current plans call for procuring only 38. Operating a smaller sized fleet brings with it challenges for the Air Guard, Wyatt said. For example, the JCA concept of employment still calls for having 16 airplanes operating in theater at all times. This will require at least doubling the number of air crews per aircraft from two to four, or perhaps going as high as five, he said. Because each aircraft in the fleet will have to fly more hours, “you probably will have to increase the maintenance requirement,” too, he noted. Wyatt said the Air Guard has a good handle on how it will establish JCA operations at the original six ANG beddown locations identified during the joint program. Each of these bases is scheduled to get four C-27Js. But ANG is still determining the sites for the remaining 14 aircraft in concert with the Army and State Adjutants General, he said. “It is going to take a scrub of the available manpower based upon this new … crew ratio requirement,” he said.
March 4, 2024
The Air Force has published images of an operational hypersonic Air-Launched Rapid-Response Weapon (ARRW) in Guam; a disclosure possibly meant to send a message to China but which raises questions about the future of the ARRW, which the Air Force insists it is not planning to procure in quantity.