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.”