There’s been some speculation about whether the Air Force has any role in the Army’s plan to replace or augment its C-23 Sherpa fleet of small transports. The answer is: The Air Force is “partnering with the Army” on discussion about a light cargo aircraft, says Gen. Michael Moseley, USAF Chief of Staff. He told reporters last week that the Air Force has “spent a lot of time” talking to the Army about the concept, chiefly about how such an aircraft would be able to supply units deployed in the non-linear battlefield model (built around the Future Combat Systems template). Moseley said they both want something that is better than just a C-23 Sherpa replacement. “It makes a lot of sense across the board,” Moseley said of the partnership. “To be able to operate out of smaller airfields, and to be able to do that with a higher sortie generation rate seems to be an inherent good.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.