The Pentagon’s extensive new study of its mobility needs shows that the US military requires about 32.7 million ton miles of strategic airlift capacity per day, a figure already exceeded by the Air Force’s existing fleet of C-5 and C-17 transports, says Air Force Secretary Michael Donley. “We have somewhat more capacity than we actually must have,” Donley told House defense overseers last week, alluding to the findings of the Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study. Donley said during the March 10 hearing that the airlift-capacity requirement equates “to the low 300s” of strategic airlifters, a figure already surpassed by the inventory of 111 C-5s and 223 planned C-17s. Because of the added financial and manpower burden of maintaining the excess capacity, the Air Force hopes to start retiring some of its oldest C-5As in Fiscal 2011, if Congress gives it the green light. (See Galaxy Talk below)