Medium-Lift Tankers:

If the Air Force buys new aerial refueling tankers with the “doors, floors, and defensive systems” that US Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command desire, those aircraft will streamline the airlift process but will not eliminate the need for upgraded C-5s, says Gen. Duncan McNabb, AMC commander. McNabb explained yesterday at AFA’s conference in Washington that the Mobility Requirements Study 2005 identified a need for a minimum of 292 aircraft able to transport oversized and outsized cargo. That means C-17s and C-5s. New tankers that are also able to haul would be useful for quickly and efficiently moving personnel and cargo pallets, but would not solve the oversized/outsized dilemma. The move by Congress to buy an additional 10 C-17s in the 2007 defense budget would solve the airlift shortage caused by loss of one C-5 earlier this year and higher than expected usage of current C-17s, however that assumes the C-5 modernization program goes as planned.