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Thread: C-27J:Another bone job from the Air Force to the Army

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    C-27J:Another bone job from the Air Force to the Army

    The C-27 truth vacuum


    By Philip Ewing Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 4:03 pm

    Did the Air Force’s leadership appreciate the hornet’s nest it was kicking over by proposing to ice its entire fleet of C-27J Spartans?

    It has seemed completely unprepared for the backlash it has faced over the decision. Anyone can say anything about how much the twin-engine airlifter costs to fly, whether it’s more efficient than the four-engine C-130, how many airmen it requires, or anything else. Last week it was confusing; this week it’s a truth vacuum.

    Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman asked Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz how the costs broke down for the propeller-driven cargo planes. Schwartz had some numbers handy: It costs about $9,000 per hour to fly the C-27J, it’s a little higher to fly the C-130J, and it costs about $10,400 to fly the C-130H.


    Whoa whoa whoa, said Portman — those numbers were new to him. “This is incredibly confusing,” he said. “When we had a private conversation about this, none of these data points … were available.”

    The Air Force had chosen to stick to round numbers in previous hearings, citing the 25-year lifecycle cost. A briefing prepared by an Ohio Air Guard captain that has disputed the Air Force’s justification for killing the C-27J cites the reimbursable cost per hour to fly the C-27J, C-130J, and C-130H.

    In a meeting at the Pentagon with reporters and defense analysts on Friday, Kevin Williams, a retired Air Force colonel who is one of the service’s leading analysts, disputed the data used by the Ohio Guardsman. He said it was more accurate to use the normalized cost per flying hour, which is where the $9,000 figure came from. Of course, the normalized cost per flying hour gets cheaper the more you fly the aircraft, making it the easiest to bend based upon 25-year projections.

    “Frankly, it’s been a dizzying six weeks going through these numbers,” Portman said. He suggested that the Air Force was trying to make the numbers in this situation be what they needed to be to justify a decision that had already been made. What an idea!

    Schwartz muddied the waters further: The C-27J’s cost per flight hour might be lower, he said, but it’s got contracted maintenance, as opposed to the “organic” maintenance the Air Force can keep up with its C-130s — in other words, airmen repair the Hercs but contractors work on the Spartans. That, combined with a “strategic-level discussion” about the number of fleets the Air Force should maintain, informed the decision to mothball the little planes, he said.

    Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told Portman that the C-27J is “nice to have,” but given that it satisfies a “very narrow piece” of the Army’s missions, it has to go. He and other top Air Force leaders say they can get supplies to troops downrange with precision air drops from C-130s, so the bigger bird doesn’t have to land on the shorter, rougher airfields where the C-27J was built to operate.

    Portman, who wants to protect the Ohio Air National Guard’s C-27Js stationed in Mansfield — literally right across the street from the old prison where “The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed — remained skeptical. He consulted data from Afghanistan that he said showed 65 percent of the time, C-130s were flying in theatre with just one pallet of cargo, and that the rest of the time, they only had two. Doesn’t it make sense, he argued, to use a smaller airplane to move just-in-time necessities such as helicopter parts, as opposed to a bigger, heavier and thirstier C-130? He did not add that it can also save wear and tear on Army CH-47 Chinooks, which the Army brass once hoped would get some relief from the C-27Js.

    It is what it is, Donley and Schwartz said, but the bottom line is that they believe the C-130s are “more flexible” and that these budget projections were about where to take additional risk. The Herc can take enough of the “niche” the Spartan now fills that the Air Force can make it work, they believe.

    Lawmakers, so far, are not sold. Worse, from the Air Force’s perspective, they are mad. Nothing irks members of Congress more than when they feel they’re not being fairly dealt with, especially when the administration is controlled by the other party. Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker sharply questioned Schwartz and Donley’s decision to ax the Block 30 Global Hawk, only months after saying it was a necessity.

    “We need to be able to rely on what this committee is told,” he said. “Now we’re told, ‘the requirements have changed. The assumptions have changed. We’re told ‘never mind’ what [then-top weapons buyer and now Undersecretary of Defense Ash Carter] said.’”

    Even Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat, questioned the Air Force’s forthrightness in his opening statement:

    “The Air Force had established a requirement, validated by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, for 38 C-27 aircraft to provide direct support to Army ground forces,” Levin said. “Again, all were going to the Guard. No one forced the Air Force to join what was a joint program with the Army, and then take sole ownership of it. No one forced the Air Force to testify that they needed to pursue the C-27 because the C-130 could not meet requirements when the committee questioned why the Air Force couldn’t rely on the C-130 fleet and instead had to start the C-27 program. Now the Air Force says that the C-130 is perfectly fine for meeting the direct support mission.”

    Ultimately Levin and other congressional lawmakers want the final say; he asked Secretary Panetta in a letter, and Schwartz and Donley at Tuesday’s hearing, to do nothing on force-structure or downsizing unless and until Congress gives its assent. The Air Force leaders agreed. So the C-27J question and all the other proposed reductions may look very different by the time they happen — if they do.


    http://www.dodbuzz.com/2012/03/20/th...-truth-vacuum/


    He and other top Air Force leaders say they can get supplies to troops downrange with precision air drops from C-130s....

    Ever have to recover one of those "precision air drops"? They are precise in that the hit the Earth 100% of the time.

    We never should have let them take the C-7 Caribou.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    Hahahaha!!! Nothing like a budget fight between the Air Force (birdies) and the Army (grunts). It should make for one hell of a football game next time they meet. I dare they got some score to settle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    Hahahaha!!! Nothing like a budget fight between the Air Force (birdies) and the Army (grunts). It should make for one hell of a football game next time they meet. I dare they got some score to settle.
    It not a budget fight. If it were just that I wouldn't care.

    Its about roles and lying to Congress...and at the end of the Army gets boned.

    The Air Force is about Fighters, Bombers, O Clubs then the Trash Haulers.

    Support to other services doesn't even make the list.

    The Army had the aircraft and was going to use them to replace the C-23s....but the Air Force had to come in and say "we can do that job" took the resource and then dumped it when it was no longer flavor of the month.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    It not a budget fight. If it were just that I wouldn't care.

    Its about roles and lying to Congress...and at the end of the Army gets boned.

    The Air Force is about Fighters, Bombers, O Clubs then the Trash Haulers.

    Support to other services doesn't even make the list.

    The Army had the aircraft and was going to use them to replace the C-23s....but the Air Force had to come in and say "we can do that job" took the resource and then dumped it when it was no longer flavor of the month.
    But it ultimately boiled down back to the budget fight. The USAF was fighting to protect their turf and saw the Army having the C-27Js as danger to its own turf. Yes it was a very sneaky way of doing things but USAF was successful in killing the C-27 program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    But it ultimately boiled down back to the budget fight. The USAF was fighting to protect their turf and saw the Army having the C-27Js as danger to its own turf. Yes it was a very sneaky way of doing things but USAF was successful in killing the C-27 program.
    Which makes it right?

    Stupid lying fucks.

    This is a violation of acquisition law....you don't fuck around with the JROC process, not especially when it involves reneging on agreements you meet to fill gaps identified by other services.

    If push comes to shove SecAF and COS AF could both be relieved and cahrged over this.

    This is not just a turf/budget battle.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Which makes it right?

    Stupid lying fucks.

    This is a violation of acquisition law....you don't fuck around with the JROC process, not especially when it involves reneging on agreements you meet to fill gaps identified by other services.

    If push comes to shove SecAF and COS AF could both be relieved and cahrged over this.

    This is not just a turf/budget battle.
    I am not saying it makes it right. I don't like it any more than you do when USAF engaged in very sneaky and unscrupulous manners to kill the C-27J program, a program that the Army consider as vital. But I view the whole thing as part of a budget fight. Budget fights, by their nature, tend to be nasty and dirty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    I am not saying it makes it right. I don't like it any more than you do when USAF engaged in very sneaky and unscrupulous manners to kill the C-27J program, a program that the Army consider as vital. But I view the whole thing as part of a budget fight. Budget fights, by their nature, tend to be nasty and dirty.
    And that is the difference between a military enthusiast and a military and defense professional.

    You are free to look through a very different prism.

    This is a gross violation of DoD 5000.1 & 5000.2.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    And the builder Alenia Aermacchi seems to be (understandably) fed up with the whole thing. Scroll down to Feb 27/12: We’re not gonna take it

    C-27

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    And the builder Alenia Aermacchi seems to be (understandably) fed up with the whole thing. Scroll down to Feb 27/12: We’re not gonna take it

    C-27
    Read something similar a while back; Alenia is telling the US they WILL NOT provide support for any C-27J's that the US resells to anybody, which will dramatically affect their resale value.

    Alenia Warns U.S. Over C-27J Sales | Defense News | defensenews.com
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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    unfort the C.27 debacle in US DoD also impacts on Audt DoD as the Spartan was one of the final runner considerations in our own selection options. Interoperability being a key. Sustainment however is a huge key and Alenia getting (justifiably) grumpy adds some critical hurt to any choice process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
    unfort the C.27 debacle in US DoD also impacts on Audt DoD as the Spartan was one of the final runner considerations in our own selection options. Interoperability being a key. Sustainment however is a huge key and Alenia getting (justifiably) grumpy adds some critical hurt to any choice process.

    Hey, but so long as the zoomies get more shiny fighters all else is secondary!
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Hey, but so long as the zoomies get more shiny fighters all else is secondary!
    I was hoping that the joint mentality and requirements necessities would assist in stunting that kind of mentality, but it looks like its still alive and well.

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    ^^^Very.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    He and other top Air Force leaders say they can get supplies to troops downrange with precision air drops from C-130s....

    Ever have to recover one of those "precision air drops"? They are precise in that the hit the Earth 100% of the time.

    We never should have let them take the C-7 Caribou.
    The new GPS pallets are disgustingly accurate. Like everything else, though, they require an electronically permissive environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Hey, but so long as the zoomies get more shiny fighters all else is secondary!
    Yes, replacing 45 year old F-16s is such a waste. *rolls eyes*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy View Post
    ^^^Very.



    The new GPS pallets are disgustingly accurate. Like everything else, though, they require an electronically permissive environment.



    Yes, replacing 45 year old F-16s is such a waste. *rolls eyes*
    GPS fails....ever have to recover on a blacked out DZ?

    No problem on replacing fighters....so long as you live up to your agreements AND meet the public acquisition law you make with the otehr services, DOD and Congress.

    This is not about the Air Force replacing F-16s; its about taking a resource away from the Army and not meeting the need.
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    With regard to the F-35, I agree (though I throw the blame at the Marines, since theirs is the expensive one).

    The whole acquisitions system is beyond FUBAR, I doubt if it's even possible to remain legal in every way.

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