According to a report in Flight International, Boeing has been soliciting the Army as a potential buyer for a C-17 revamped with short-takeoff-and-landing characteristics, the C-17B. Boeing has offered USAF the B model, which the company says would be able to land and takeoff on even shorter and more austere strips than the current A model, but the service doesn’t believe there is sufficient need to justify buying a small number of special variants that would require unique support equipment. Boeing reportedly has pitched the B model to the Army as a possible transport for its Future Combat System. And that’s interesting because the Air Force has been trying to get data from the Army on the FCS to work long-term mobility needs. Having the Army fly C-17s would be even more ludicrous than the Army’s insistence on maintaining its own fixed wing tactical transports. Bring on the roles and missions scrub.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.