JCA Moves from Army to Air Force

Among the program decisions revealed in the Fiscal 2010 budget was the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s decision to take the Army out of the C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft program and put it solely under the Air Force. The Army already had purchased 11 airframes and spent $280 million on the effort to field aircraft to replace its elderly C-23 Sherpas. The 2010 Air Force budget includes eight JCAs, with a total price tag of $328.5 million, including $9.4 million in R&D. OSD also slashed the total size of the JCA buy from 78 to 38. DOD Comptroller Robert Hale told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday that OSD is looking to “exploit some synergy” in the Air Force for the intratheather mission between the JCA and the C-130. “They have in some cases similar capabilities,” Hale said. As a result, the Army must now work out how to divest the training and equipping piece of the program, as well as the 11 airframes it had already purchased. “Where we are, at this juncture, is that the Air Force leadership, the Army leadership, and the Air Guard and the National Guard are still working out the implications of how to affect this transfer,” Army Lt. Gen. Edgar Stanton III, the Army’s military deputy for budget matters, said Thursday. Issues such as training, manning, and facilities are still being discussed since the Army just found out about the OSD decision a few weeks ago, Stanton said. “There has not yet been resolution,” he added.