It’s not a question of if but when the older C-5A aircraft flown by the New York Air National Guard’s 105th Airlift Wing will fail, according to Maj. Gen. Robert Knauff, head of the NYANG. Knauff told MidHudsonNews.com that he wants to replace the wing’s Vietnam-era giant transports with the new C-17 airlifter, although he knows it is an Air Force decision. The New York Congressional delegation has urged USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz to replace the older C-5s with the service’s newest strategic airlifter. In Knauff’s view: “These airplanes were built 40 years ago and any piece of metal that is bent for 40 years eventually is going to break, and more and more, the more we fly these airplanes, the more problems they have. It’s not fatal. It’s not a horrible flaw but it gets more and more expensive.” It’s a familiar refrain around the Total Force, as units operating old aircraft face mounting maintenance bills. Knauff lauded the 105th AW, which he told the news agency has the best C-5A performance in the Air Force. Still, he regrets their rising expense. He said, “If I have anything to do with it, we’ll be seeing new airplanes at Stewart.”
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.