Counting on 19 Percent Down

The new Mobility Capability and Requirements Study shows there’s a shortage of aerial refueling capability, and Brig. Gen. Michelle Johnson, with US Transportation Command, explained to lawmakers April 28, that one reason is that “up to 19 percent of the KC-135s are in depot at any one time.” She added, “A new aircraft would immediately provide more availability and better mission capable rate to start with.” House Armed Services air and land forces panel chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) reaffirmed, “So when you come to those figures of the shortfall in your scenario, you’re assuming that at any given time roughly 20 percent of that [KC-135] fleet will not be available.” Smith then pledged “to do whatever we can” to move the KC-X program “forward as quickly as possible.” He declared, “It’s my commitment on this committee to try and not muck with that.” (Johnson’s written testimony)