Polar Route

One option being explored by US Transportation Command as it prepares to move an additional 30,000 troops and their equipment into Afghanistan by mid-2010 is the use of air routes that stretch directly there from the US over the North Pole, Russia, and the Central Asian republics, says Air Force Gen. Duncan McNabb, TRANSCOM boss. “I think there might be some really nice opportunities once we get that whole thing sorted out,” he told defense reporters Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Such access would allow modern commercial freighters and military C-17s to fly nonstop from places like Alaska, Chicago, Charleston AFB, S.C., or Travis AFB, Calif., into places like Bagram Air Field, he said. In addition to carrying troops in, aircraft could also bring wounded soldiers in some cases back to the US without the need to stop in Germany, he noted. For more, read Land-locked, Interesting Neighbors.