The Air Force leadership on Thursday identified the two Air National Guard installations it favors for basing the remaining 14 of USAF’s 38 planned C-27J Spartan transports. They are: Boise Air Terminal ANGS, Idaho, and Great Falls International Airport, Mont. Service officials will now conduct site surveys at those locations and initiate the environmental impact studies required by US law before the decision may be finalized. Along with those operational sites, USAF also announced Thursday that Key Field ANGB, Miss., and Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport, Ohio, are the two candidate bases for C-27J training. Both Key Field and Manfield are already slated to receive four combat-ready C-27s each as part of the initial beddown of the first 24 C-27s. The Air Force is preparing to conduct operational testing of the C-27 later this year before it starts operating the airlifters in combat.
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.