More Than Enough C-130s

Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study 2016, the Pentagon’s in-depth look at its transport future needs, shows that the US military currently has more C-130 transports than it requires. The existing inventory stands at 401 tails, a number that exceeds the highest projected demand for 335 of them in the most stressing warfighting scenarios, according to the document’s unclassified executive summary. This peak demand would occur during surge airland/airdrop operations, it states. At the same time, MCRS-16 notes that “the C-130 crew force structure cannot sustain steady-state operations in combination with a long-duration irregular warfare campaign,” based on current Total Force planning objectives. Many of the C-130s in the Air Force’s inventory are old and the service is retiring some of them while upgrading others and bringing on new C-130J airframes. (See Not Enough Tankers above) (For more on MCRS-16, see Overcapacity.) (MCRS 2016 executive summary)