About Those Airlift Numbers

US Transportation Command chief Gen. Norton Schwartz feels that a force of 205 C-17s and 111 C-5s is the best strategic airlift mix for the nation. He has quoted these numbers to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Schwartz told a Capitol Hill symposium Thursday that those numbers take into account anticipated increases in the size of the Army and Marine Corps. And, given uncertainties in the C-5 upgrade and re-engining, Schwartz reiterated that in his “best military judgment,” he couldn’t recommend shutting down the C-17 line until the C-5’s development issues are resolved. There are signs that Congress may include at least 10 additional C-17s in the 2008 defense war supplemental. That would bring the number to 200.