The Air Force would like Congress’ blessing to retire 17 C-5A transports in Fiscal 2011, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Schwartz—just as Air Force Secretary Michael Donley divulged last week—said the Pentagon’s new Mobility Capabilities and Requirements Study finds that the Air Force has more than enough strategic airlift with its 111 C-5s and planned force of 223 C-17s. “It is clear that we have some excess capability on the big-airplane airlift side,” he explained. Accordingly, Schwartz appealed to the committee to loosen the legal restrictions on retiring some of the 59 C-5As and grant the service “as much latitude” as possible in managing its aircraft fleet. “Part of moving forward to next-generation platforms is not hanging on too long to legacy force structure,” said Schwartz.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.