Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who needs 38 special design cargo planes?

The Air Force is buying 38 C27J cargo planes. It's a nice looking twin engine turboprop military transport. This is a new aircraft going into the inventory. That means we will pay the one time costs, "non recurring engineering costs", buy the tooling, set up the production line, write all the unit test procedures, write all the technical orders, buy spare parts, develop training for air and ground crewmen, and then train said crewmen. That's a lot of money. And we only get 38 airplanes for spending all that money.
What do we get in the C27 that we don't get in the tried and true C130? We get half the cargo capacity and half the range. Whereas the already in the inventory C130 can haul twice as much stuff, twice as far, and land and takeoff on just as small, maybe even smaller airfields than the smaller C27. Take off distance is a little bit variable, depends upon load and willingness of the aircrew to take risks, but the specified take off roll of a C130J is 1950 feet, loaded. The C27 takeoff roll is 1903 feet. Plus, the C-130 can do considerable better than specified. Back in the 1960s a C-130 made repeated takeoff's from, and landings on, a Navy aircraft carrier, and those things are only 1000 feet long.
So we are spending serious money to buy a few, new, cute little airlifters that aren't any better than the C-130. Serious waste of taxpayer dollars in the estimation of this taxpayer and Air Force veteran.

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