What Lies Ahead:

OSD’s restructure of the C-5 reliability enhancement and re-engining program hasn’t solved one issue for the Air Force: how many of the 59 C-5A aircraft not getting the new engines it will retain vs. retire in the nearer term. “This does not address the retirement situation, because, as you know, we have [Congressional] language that says we won’t retire any C-5As until we get the results of testing on RERP,” Air Force acquisition official Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman told reporters on Feb. 15 during a meeting in the Pentagon. Hoffman said the Air Force would not know the results of RERP testing until around Fiscal 2010. “To retire any C-5As, we would need relief from that language,” he said. USAF leadership has hinted that it would prefer to retire some of its oldest, least reliable C-5s and acquire new C-17s in their place. Last year, the service championed a notional 30/30 plan that called for essentially swapping out 30 C-5As for 30 C-17s. In addition to the Congressional restrictions, funding shortfalls and the RERP Nunn-McCurdy review (see above) put those plans on hold. Under the restructured RERP plan, the service’s 59 C-5A models will only undergo the avionics modernization program portion. For those, said Hoffman, there is “still an issue there of whether … they are considered modernized or not.” He said the final decision “will probably be based” on the findings of the Pentagon’s next comprehensive mobility study that is already underway.