The Air Force is establishing an Intra-Theater Airlift Working Group to determine how best to comply with the language in this fiscal year’s defense authorization act mandating the restoration of 32 tactical airlifters that the service leadership intended to retire. The working group will provide recommendations to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley by the end of January, service spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told the Daily Report on Jan. 4. Donley will then announce his final decision on the restorals “sometime after that meeting,” she said. The working group will comprise representatives from the Active Duty component (e.g. headquarters staff, Air Mobility Command), Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve, said Stefanek. Among the group’s members is Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller who’s in charge of strategic plans and programs on the Air Staff, according to a release from Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa,) who is fighting to save the C-130 flying mission of Air Force Reserve Command’s 911th Airlift Wing in Pittsburgh. Congress gave the Air Force the latitude to decide whether the 32 airlifters retained are C-130s, C-27Js, or a mix of C-130s and C-27Js. President Obama signed the defense legislation into law on Jan. 2.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.