MC-12 Fleet Stays with Air Force

A Senate-sponsored measure to transfer the Air Force’s fleet of MC-12 Liberty intelligence-reconnaissance-surveillance aircraft to the Army did not make it in the final version of the Fiscal 2012 defense policy bill that Congress finalized last week for the President’s signature. Instead, senators receded to House members in the conference that hashed out the legislation’s final language. The House had no similar provision in its draft bill. “The conferees accept [the Defense Department’s] judgment” that “the Air Force should continue to operate and manage the MC-12 Liberty fleet,” reads the conference report accompanying the defense authorization bill. However, the conferees said they “have concerns” about the Air Force’s proposal to move the MC-12 fleet to the Air National Guard. They said they’re “not opposed to having the Air National Guard contribute to this mission,” but are not convinced that the reserve component could “sustain the levels of forward deployment and operational tempo required” to run this high-in-demand fleet.