Strategic Airlift Modernization: Analysis of C-5 Modernization and C-17 Acquisition Issues [June 6, 2008]   [open pdf - 426KB]

"Strategic airlift has played a pivotal role in U.S. national security strategy since World War II. Since then, strategic airlift has provided timely worldwide reach for both combat and humanitarian relief operations. The Department of Defense (DOD) currently operates a mix of C-5 and C-17 aircraft. C-5s were built in two production batches, designated the C-5A and C-5B, respectively. A total of 52 C-5s are scheduled to undergo two major modification programs, after which they will be redesignated C-5M Super Galaxies; the remaining 59 C-5s will a major avionics upgrade. C-17s are currently in production, but the C-17 production line is scheduled to close unless additional orders are placed in an anticipated FY2008 supplemental appropriations bill. […] In addition to the aforementioned options, DOD could increase use of commercial aircraft, encourage foreign or civilian sales of the C-17, bolster reliance on pre-positioning of equipment, leverage potential KC-X airlift capability, pursue airships or hybrid airships, or simply accept less strategic airlift capability. This report will be updated as events warrant."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL34264
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