The C-130, the C-27J and The Godfather 2



As the following was happening on Capitol Hill today, I noticed several airmen sitting in the back of the hearing room …

Sen. Thad Cochran:

Let me ask you a question about the C-27 Joint Cargo Aircraft program.

There is indication in our briefing paper here that the Air Force is suggesting that even though the C-27 was developed to provide a capability or unique capability to support Army needs, that that could have been managed by the use of C-130 aircraft.

I don’t know whether this is a consensus or what your reaction to it is, but is there a difference of opinion between the Army and the Air Force on the C-27 and C-130? We don’t need to overdo things and buy things we don’t need in this time of fiscal constraint and pressure on the budget, so I was just curious what your reaction to that would be.

Gen. Raymond Odierno:

We — the Army has a stated requirement for intra- theater lift which we need in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and we’ve discussed this over time. The Army has the C-23 Sherpa program which, frankly, is getting old and, frankly, will no longer be capable of doing the mission we need it to do in the future. However, so we’ve defined this requirement.

The Air Force has come back and said, “We can meet all of your intra-theater lift requirements with the C-130.” So we have worked with them to develop concepts that will put C-130s in direct support of Army units in order to meet these requirements.

So I — I would just answer your question by saying we identified the requirement for intra-theater lift. C-27 was one solution. The Air Force has come back and said “we can solve this problem using the C-130.” So we are working with them to come up with the procedures in order for us to solve this problem using the C-130.

… and I couldn’t help but think of that scene in Godfather II when they bring Frankie Pentageli‘s brother Vincenzo from Italy into the hearing room.

“Oh … the Army was interested in the C-27J, but that was a long time ago, that’s all.”


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  1. Odierno shouldnt be massaging messages – why is he trying to protect the clowns that lied to the Army in the first place. Shame on Odierno for playing politics, he almost deserves a blue uniform

  2. USAF Retired on

    The issue at hand is not solely if the C-130 can provide the intra-theater airlift required by the army, it’s that the air force does not want to do the mission required by the army. And being stewards of the taxpayers money, the C-27J can fulfill this requirement at less cost. Since the AF only the AF only wants to walk around shouting “hooha!” but don’t actually want to be in harms ways unless there is a 5-star hotel nearby, then give the C-27J back to the army and let them get the mission done!

  3. JustTheFacts on

    A C-130 can perfrom the direct support mission just as well as the C-27J. The truth is when the Comanchee program was killed a few years ago the Army had to find programs to stash all that money — hence the C-27J program. A review of the history of this program will reveal that the Army kicked Lockheed’s C-130J out of the competition becasue it did not meet a requirement to be compliant with airspace management mandates. Funny thing is, the C-27J is still not complaint with those mandates…the Army know what plane it wanted before the competition even began. Bottom line is the C-27J is not needed and can’t even fly without parts falling off the aircraft while in flight.

  4. Not the facts on

    Sir, I’ve been flying on the C-27J for over three years and hadn’t had any parts fall off. With you saying that, I have to assume that you are from Maryland since you folks had a panel come off last week. You are the people who placed unnecessary limitations on the aircraft, limitations that the army would never considered imposing. The bottomline is that the army lets the aircraft’s capability dictate what the aircraft can do, while the AF dictates the capability of the aircraft based on performance of C-130. If you are scared, then just say so!

  5. Just the Facts on JCA vs 130: The AF fought to take over the JCA budget from the Army with a promise to keep a dedicated A/C fleet for the Army. But, now they want to use that money in the budget pool for the C-130 and re-prioritize the Army’s support within that pool. At the end of the day, the ground troops will be the last to receive support from the AF(as usual).
    The AF also wants the F-35, which is way over budget and losing money for Lockheed Martin, so their deal is to prop up the profit making C-130 program for Lockheed so Lockheed can continue to develop the F-35.
    Furthermore, with all factors weighted evenly, the C-130 costs $7800 f/h while the C-27J costs $2300 f/h. But the AF calculations of lifetime costs were weighted to support their preferred foregone conclusion that the C-130 is nearly as cost effective as the C-27 – which there’s no way to really justify with any depth of scrutiny.
    Lastly, flying a C-130 or Chinook, with one pallet or one or two personell, is a real money burner. The C-130 cannot land on short, rough and far-flung runways and the Chinook must make more trips at $12K f/h, so the JCA is the cost effective solution for “Last Mile” support and domestic emergency situations.
    In this era of cost cutting, the AF has gotten politically bogged down and needs to be purged of their decision making and made a Customer Support model for the other branches – or better yet, put them under the ANG.

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