Relay Race

Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz suggested Sept. 15 he thinks the C-17 and F-22 should stay in production, at least until their approximate successors start ramping up in production. Schwartz, in a press conference at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, said the issue for both aircraft isn’t just about “the right numbers”—and he and Acting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley will put their heads together and state a preference—but the question is whether the nation thinks “it’s important to have a production line that’s hot” in fifth-generation fighters and tanker/cargo-type aircraft. “There should be a handoff” from one airframe to the next in both categories, Schwartz said. “They won’t continue indefinitely,” but would until the next was in hand. Donley added, however, that all aircraft are examined for their role in the overall defense portfolio, and “it’s never about the single system.”