Fraser Endorses Proposed Air Mobility Fleet

Gen. William Fraser, head of US Transportation Command, this week voiced support for the proposed changes to the air mobility fleet that would result in a smaller, but more modern force of transports and aerial tankers. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Fraser said TRANSCOM’s initial analysis shows this proposed force “meets” the US military’s “requirements for a single large-scale operation, while maintaining the flexibility and adaptability to support the joint force in another region.” The Air Force intends to divest the C-27J fleet and retire 65 of the oldest C-130s, fielding a intra-theater airlift fleet of 134 C-130Js, plus 184 modernized C-130Hs. Fraser said that “will be a very capable force.” As for strategic airlift, the Air Force proposes retiring the remaining C-5As and maintaining 52 C-Ms and 223 C-17s. “I am confident in the number of 275,” said Fraser. Regarding tankers, the Air Force wants to phase out 20 KC-135s, maintaining 453 KC-10s and KC-135s as the new KC-46A starts to enter service later this decade. A smaller tanker force doesn’t mean less capability since “the depots have gotten better,” said Fraser. That means “we’re seeing fewer aircraft in the depot” that translates into “added capability,” he explained. (Fraser prepared remarks)